NY GOP Chairman Calls on Silver to Resign Over Repeated Sexual Harassment Coverups

September 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm (Ed Cox, Ethics, Gropergate, J. Michael Boxley, New York, Sheldon Silver, Vito Lopez)

It’s a scandal that Democrats don’t want you to know about here in New York state – Gropergate. So much so, that they’ve taken to seating New York delegates at the convention in practically another zip code.

Today New York GOP Chairman Ed Cox called on Sheldon Silver to step down as Speaker of the Assembly Following Sex Abuse Cover-up Revelations:

“Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver claims his actions handling the cover-up of a hush-money payout to quell sexual abuse allegations against Democrat Assemblyman Vito Lopez were ‘legal and ethical.’

“A judge appointed special prosecutor will determine if criminal liability attaches to actions approved by the Speaker, but we don’t need a special prosecutor to rule on the ethics of this transaction.

“Faced with a member of his caucus who had on multiple occasions sexually harassed female staff members, Speaker Silver neglected to refer the matter to the Assembly Ethics Committee and instead took an active role in covering up the abuse, including paying over $100,000 of taxpayer money to the victim, who did not request confidentiality.

“Silver’s actions were unethical and wholly unbecoming of a member of the New York State Assembly, let alone its Speaker.

“Sheldon Silver’s history of covering up sex abuse in the Democratic Assembly caucus includes a $500,000 settlement in 2004 for sexual misconduct by Silver’s Chief Counsel and an $80,000 settlement in 1992 for similar charges against another Democratic Assemblyman.

“As Speaker, Sheldon Silver has allowed a culture of abuse to permeate the Democratic Assembly caucus and has demonstrated a manifest disregard for the wellbeing and safety of female Assembly staff members.

“Additionally, the Speaker’s use of public money to settle these claims is questionable at best, and may in and of itself be illegal.

“Enough is enough. The line must be drawn here. For the sake of female officials and staffers in the Assembly – and indeed for the sake of all New Yorkers – Sheldon Silver must step down as Speaker of the New York State Assembly.”

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Sexual Harassment Pander: Sheldon Silver Once Again Proves Ethics in New York Under His Watch Is Non-Existent

August 28, 2012 at 1:19 pm (Assembly, J. Michael Boxley, New York, Settlement, Sexual Harassment, Sheldon Silver, Taxpayer Money, Vito Lopez)

Sheldon Silver must resign.

Over the weekend, Silver was lauded for his swift and unprecedented response to the Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal.  Lopez was unanimously rebuked by the Standing Committee on Ethics and Guidance, stripping him of his Housing Committee chairmanship, cutting off funding and resources from the Assembly, and banning him from hiring employees under the age of 21.  Silver outlined the punishment in a startlingly graphic letter from the Assembly to Lopez.  
Now however, what was once praised as a swift response, has been a proven case of pandering to members of government with a penchant for sexual misconduct.  In a stunning revelation, the New York Times reports that Silver attempted to keep previous Lopez harassment issues swept under the rug, authorizing a secret payment to two other victims for an eye-popping $103,080.  

“… a previous sexual harassment claim was quietly settled by the Assembly earlier this year, in an arrangement that included public money, a confidentiality agreement and mandatory attendance by Mr. Lopez at a sexual harassment workshop.”

The payment was authorized on June 13th, preceding the complaints from two new women which prompted Lopez’ censuring.  The new allegations were made in mid-July. The previous settlement creates a scenario in which calls into question what might have been.  Had Silver taken bold, swift actions when responding to the first case, perhaps the two later complainants would never have been sexually harassed.

Officials are calling the secret payment “unprecedented” and “unfathomable”, while government watchdog groups are demanding an investigation.

Silver’s inaction is not an isolated incident.  Assembly members have been wrapped up in scandals involving current and former interns in 2006, 2007, and 2008 according to the Times, and Silver has oft been criticized for his lethargic response to such scandals.

What’s more, Silver’s use of taxpayer funds to settle harassment cases is not in fact, “unprecedented” at all.

In 2003, Silver was criticized for a slow response to a case involving his former aide, J. Michael Boxley, who was accused of rape and later pled guilty to sexual misconduct.  Three years later, the Assembly agreed to pay $500,000 of taxpayer money to settle the case.

Silver has consistently swept sexual harassment complaints under the rug, has continually used taxpayer funds to placate victims, and by extension has allowed these unprofessional and abhorrent behaviors to be perpetrated upon other victims.  He has proven willing to sacrifice ethics for his allies in government.

He is a panderer to predators, and must resign.

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