Thursday, August 30, 2012
New York: A powerful Hispanic lawmaker accused of sexual harassment told a young female employee that he would like it better if she didn’t have a bra on
Brooklyn Democrat Vito J. Lopez, 71, leered over the shirt the woman was wearing and gave special treatment to those who he said were well endowed. He even asked one woman to wear button down tops so he could get a better look at her cleavage. The claims emerged after Lopez - one of the most powerful officials in the city - was found by the city Assembly’s ethics committee to have sexually harassed two employees. The board slammed Lopez's unwelcome verbal and physical conduct. In one incident he was said to have groped a woman’s thigh on a trip to Atlantic City and forced himself on staff. Following the findings, five women who worked with Lopez spoke out about the atmosphere of intimidation in his office. They said that there was a culture where behavior like that was acceptable and they said that they did not dare to complain because of Lopez’s power and network of allies. The claims add to the growing sex scandal engulfing the once-powerful Latino politician, who was first elected in 1984. Lopez has announced that he would not seek re-election as Brooklyn Democratic Party chairman. But despite calls for him to resign, Lopez has insisted on remaining on the state Assembly. Lopez additionally made inappropriate comments about the staffers’ bodies, clothes and personal relationships, urging some to reveal details about their boyfriends. He was censured by the Assembly and ordered not to employ women under 21 years old.