Women detail alleged harassment by assemblyman

Several women detailed accusations of sexual harassment by Assemblyman Vito Lopez in a report published today.

In a New York Times article, five women who had worked for Lopez described unwanted advances.

One woman, Stephanie Friot, speaking on the record, told the newspaper that she was not directly harassed but “There was a certain culture where behaviors like that were permissible.”

Two of the women said Lopez asked them not to wear bras. Another recounted that Lopez asked her to come along on overnight trips, and three said he requested they wear short skirts.

Another former staffer, Laiza Garcia, told the Times she never saw any of this type of behavior.

A former staffer contacted by Metro declined to comment.

Lopez was censured Friday, after an ethics committee investigation found credible allegations of harassment.

Earlier this week, the newspaper reported that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver approved a secret settlement of $103,080 to settle earlier allegations from two other women.

In addition, the Times reported that those two women also received $32,000 from Lopez himself as part of the settlement.

He was stripped of his committee chairmanship after the news of the allegations, and he also said he would step down as the head of the Brooklyn Democratic Party.

Lopez maintains that he is innocent and vowed not to resign.

Accusations

Asked women to wear short skirts and high heels
Gave them money for jewelry
Complimented figures that were “well endowed”
Encouraged them to break up with boyfriends
Asked women to compliment him
One woman said, “He would comment on a shirt I was wearing and say, ‘I’d like it better if you didn’t have a bra on.’”


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