The scandal surrounding Vito Lopez, the Brooklyn Assemblyman just keeps getting worse. Most of the controversy has been centered on secret payoff settlements negotiated by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, but little has been heard from the five women who accused Lopez of subjecting them to a sexually hostile environment.
Lopez a leading Democrat in Brooklyn has been asked to resign in light of his egregious behavior and the
In several interviews, the five women involved in the present and past allegations claim that Lopez pressured them for sex, used crass language in the office and even asked them to dress provocatively. He often asked about their personal relationships and said they were afraid to report the abusive behavior for fear of retaliation.
Lopez asked some of the women in the office not to wear bras, and encouraged them to wear short skirts and high heels. He would also purchase jewelry for them, and give special attention to the women he said were ‘well-endowed.”
The women also said Lopez would ask about their relationships and encourage them to break up with their boyfriends. Workers who were not overly complimentary to Lopez were often berated.
Speaking anonymously to the Ney York Post, one woman described “an atmosphere of intimidation.” Another woman, says she was not personally harassed but “there was a certain culture where behaviors like that were permissible.”
The women’s accusations bring to light a pattern of misconduct perpetrated by Lopez. When a harasser holds a position of power, the targets of abuse find they must look to a sexual harassment attorney to put an end to misconduct.