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Speaker Silver says latest assemblyman accused of sexual harassment should leave

The legislative session begins with the New York State Assembly still plagued by sexual harassment scandals.  Seven women have now accused a Buffalo-area assemblyman of sexual harassment.

Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak , of Cheektowaga, has now been accused of sexual harassment  by a seventh woman. Another assemblyman, Micah Kellner, of Manhattan , has been censured by the Assembly Ethics Committee for alleged sexual harassment.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had to apologize after authorizing a secret settlement for the alleged harassment victims of another Assemblyman Vito Lopez, of Brooklyn. Silver says if the allegations against Gabryszak hold up, then he should leave the Assembly.

“If the allegations are true he should resign, there’s no question about it,” said Silver.

Silver says he has not spoken with Gabryszak since the charges were initially made public in late December. He says he has not yet decided whether to bar the assemblyman from attending Democratic Party Conference meetings.

Kellner has asked for a public hearing to dispute the ethics committee findings. Silver says Kellner will get a hearing, but it won’t be public.  

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.