Assemblyman Vito Lopez announces resignation
by Andrew Pavia
May 17, 2013 | 1163 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Assemblyman Vito Lopez is stepping down on June 20, the final day of the legislative session, following sexual harassment allegations, however still plans to run for City Council.

The New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics released a report that Lopez had clearly violated official standards of conduct by inappropriately touching women in his office and forcing them to massage his hands.

“I expect to run a vigorous campaign on the issues facing citizens of my community and hope to continue to service them as a member of the City Council,” Lopez said in a statement. “I believe that the voters of the community should decide who should represent them.”

Former Lopez chief of staff and current City Councilman Stephen Levin called for his resignation following the announcement of the JCOPE report.

“I was shocked and saddened to read the findings in the JCOPE report on Assemblyman Lopez,” Levin said. “During my time in his office there were never any incidents or allegations of sexual harassment. If there had been I would have contacted the authorities immediately.

“Due to the circumstances, I believe it is the best thing for everyone concerned that he voluntarily step down.”

While Lopez announced he intends to wait until June 20, Speaker of the Assembly Shelly Silver said that might be too far in the future. The speaker will look to vote on an expulsion resolution next week to kick Lopez out of office.

"Assembly member Lopez should no longer be in public office," stated Silver. "We will move forward with out resolution on Monday."

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