Colby Hamilton, Writer, WNYC News
Colby Hamilton is a general assignment reporter. He originally joined WNYC as a political blogger. He's a proud graduate of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
Assemblyman Vito Lopez was stripped of his seniority and censured over sexual harassment claims a day after he completed mandated harassment training as part of a separate claim against him, an official confirmed to WNYC.
The mandatory training was part of a private settlement that included a $103,000 public money payout to the alleged victims approved by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Lopez completed his training on August 23, according to an Assembly spokesman. He was censured in a separate incident the following day.
Silver said he was wrong to not refer an initial sexual harassment complaint against Lopez to the ethics committee. He said he was protecting victims' privacy.
A copy of the Assembly's harassment policy obtained by WNYC states that if a member is accused of sexual harassment, the complaint is to be referred to the ethics committee.
This is the policy Silver followed with harassment complaints that resulted in the censuring of Lopez. In that case, the Assembly's ethics committee found the powerful Brooklyn Democrat did violate the chamber’s sexual harassment policy and found his responses to the two complaints against him “not credible.”
Lopez has resisted calls for his resignation.
Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has called for the state's ethics committee to investigate.