Gov. Andrew Cuomo said two lawmakers accused of sexual harassment should deny allegations, resign or be expelled. Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News
Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement on New Year's Eve with a message to two assemblymen accused of sexual harassment: deny the charges or resign.
"The latest reports of sexual harassment in the Assembly should be the last straw," Cuomo wrote. "This pattern of behavior is repugnant by every standard and directly contradicts the policies the Assembly has advanced for the last 20 years."
The governor said Assemblymen Micah Kellner and Dennis Gabryszak should immediate deny the allegations against them or resign. He said if they do not resign, the Assembly "must send a clear message that they do not tolerate this abuse of women and should seriously consider moving to expel them if they seek to return this coming session."
He concluded his statement saying, "Enough is enough. It’s a new year; let’s start with a clean slate."
Last month, upstate Assemblyman Gabryszak was accused by four women of sexual harassment, including three former employees and one current employee.
On Monday, an ethics committee sent a letter to Speaker Sheldon Silver that said Kellner sexually harassed staff members in 2009 and 2011 by making inappropriate comments. He was immediately removed as chair of the Libraries Committee and barred from having interns and hiring any new staff.
A spokesperson for Kellner released a statement on Tuesday saying, "The letter sent by the Committee was factually inaccurate and the investigation was flawed." The spokesperson said the assemblyman will appeal the ruling and call for a public hearing concerning the findings.