Don’t Take Our Word for it – Shelly Silver enabled groper Vito Lopez

May 16, 2013

New York Daily News calls for removal of Silver from Speakership, Lopez from Assembly

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: David Laska

dlaska@nygop.org

518.462.2601

In case you missed it, the New York Daily News this morning called for the removal of Sheldon Silver as Assembly Speaker and Vito Lopez from the New York State Assembly, following yesterday’s reports detailing years of sexual abuse from Lopez and coverups from Silver.

Said the News, “As Silver must lose his leadership, the Assembly must move to oust Lopez from office entirely.”

They added that Lopez “must be jailed, if possible.”

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.

Read on for more:

Shelly Silver enabled groper Vito Lopez to abuse women

The New York Daily News

May 16, 2013

The Democrats who control the New York State Assembly must summon the conscience and the courage to oust Sheldon Silver from the speakership of their house.

The report on Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s victimization of young women staff members indisputably nails Silver as a participant in a coverup that enabled Lopez to continue subjecting female aides to gross conduct, including assault.

Silver enabled Lopez to four times work his hand between a 26-year-old staffer’s legs as they drove together, once scratching her with a fingernail as she pushed him away, once forcing his hand “all the way up,” once making “contact with her underwear.”

Silver enabled Lopez to maneuver the same woman into an Atlantic City hotel room where he “grabbed her face and tried to kiss her.”

Silver enabled Lopez to pressure a 24-year-old woman into massaging his hand; play with her hair, brush her chest and run his fingers along her upper arm; instruct her to “learn to ‘dress sexy’ like a 14-year-old intern” working in their office. Once, he grabbed her hand, tightened his grip and held fast for a count of 60, while she cried.

The speaker bears responsibility for these attacks because they occurred after he and his staff failed, in violation of Assembly rules, to respond aggressively when two other women filed complaints of similarly grotesque behavior by Lopez.

Rather than refer the charges to the Assembly Ethics Committee, as mandated by regulations he drafted, Silver joined in entering a secret financial settlement with the two women – no questions asked of them, or of the many Assembly employees who knew that Lopez was a serial abuser.

Under Silver’s shroud, Lopez kept on trying to pressure women to stay in hotel rooms with him, pleading with them to come to the office braless, dictating that they wear shorter skirts and higher heels, browbeating them into sending him affectionate electronic messages.

He should have been stopped. Silver let him go.

Silver’s fellow Democrats have backed him through thick and thin for 19 years as the Assembly’s top leader. To stand by him now would be to share complicity in assaults on the dignity and the persons of women.

The Democrats could do so only by also sanctioning Silver’s offensive claim to vindication, in that the Joint Commission on Public Ethics cleared him of violating any laws. True as that legal opinion may be, Silver remains guilty of violating Assembly rules, with terrible consequences.

And these, Silver refuses to recognize. He offered not a word of apology or concern for Lopez’s victims.

Silver’s loyalists are also compelled to dump him in light of the speaker’s record as a recidivist.

In 2001, a legislative staffer told Assembly officials that Silver’s chief counsel, Michael Boxley, had date-raped her. Boxley said the sex was consensual, and Silver declared that he expected his close aide to be “completely exonerated.” A top Silver aide cleared Boxley, who kept his job.

In 2003, cops led Boxley out of the Capitol in handcuffs, charged with raping a young legislative aide. Police described her as “physically helpless” during the attack, possibly due to drugs or alcohol. Boxley pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct; the Assembly paid $500,000 to settle a suit.

As Silver must lose his leadership, the Assembly must move to oust Lopez from office entirely. The catalogue of his abuses shows him to be a leering, lascivious, overbearing and vindictive monster. The report’s account of him pressuring a woman to massage his hand after she had told him she’d been a rape victim, after she began weeping in revulsion, is almost too revolting to read.

Then, too, Lopez used his power to reward with public money staffers who did his private bidding and to punish those who angered him. Repelled by his advances, one woman quit and took a job with a city agency. Lopez derailed her career and subjected her new boss to an investigation.

In a disappointment, Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan, who had been appointed special prosecutor, reported he had found no grounds to criminally charge Lopez based on actions taken in Brooklyn, his place of jurisdiction.

Donovan’s statement suggested that Lopez had committed crimes elsewhere. Those must be pursued. He must be jailed if possible. And Silver’s reign must end.

Bazzo 05/16/13

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