Even though an investigation found that Brooklyn Democratic Assemblyman Vito Gropez committed unspeakably gross behavior—like groping female staffers "all the way up" and making them wear short skirts and low-cut blouses and forcing them TO MASSAGE HIS TUMORS—he's not facing criminal charges. Now, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is trying to get Lopez out—after previously sweeping the allegations under the rug with taxpayer money, of course.
Last night, Sheldon's office issued a statement, "Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Speaker Silver intends to draft and introduce a resolution tomorrow, to be voted on Monday, to ask the Ethics & Guidance Committee to consider the full JCOPE report and to recommend appropriate sanctions including expulsion of Assemblymember Lopez. Given that an exhaustive investigation has already occurred by two public agencies, he expects the committee to be able to act quickly and to bring this matter back to the full Assembly
with its recommendations for prompt resolution."
The New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics report (which you can read here) detailed the insane lengths Lopez would go to exert control over his female staffers' minds and bodies—does anyone really want to play footsie with their 71-year-old boss? Lopez has denied the allegations, suggesting that his staffers were actually trying to seduce him because they sent texts like, "I really love waking up and going to work just to be able to see you."
Governor Cuomo said, "If he doesn’t resign . . . I think the body should expel him. I think they should make a statement that says we do not tolerate this in our house," and he stuck up for Silver, who has been criticized for keeping the harassment quiet. Cuomo insisted,"I don’t see any comparison between what Vito Lopez and what Shelly Silver did. There is a magnitude of difference." Yeah, just because SIlver settled the harassment cases with taxpayer money, he DID supposedly ask Lopez to resign earlier.
Anyway, some believe that Lopez would be charged with crimes outside of Brooklyn. One criminal defense lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, tells the Daily News, "Based on the reports that I’ve read, there’s no question that there were crimes committed here. It’s inconceivable that Vito Lopez avoids criminal prosecution in some jurisdiction. His behavior was so beyond the pale."