NY GOP Compares Coverup Of Vito Lopez's Pervy-ness To Penn State Scandal
If the many, many allegations of sexual misconduct are true, shamed Assemblyman Vito Lopez is a dirty, dirty old man -- he tells female staffers not to wear bras, shoves his hands up their skirts, etc.
The coverup of the disgraced pol's alleged actions by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver are equally slimy. But is it as bad as the coverup at Penn State? Where administrators failed to do anything about the countless claims of sexual abuse of children by serial pedophile Jerry Sandusky? Because that's what New York Republicans are now comparing it to.
Comparing an alleged filthy old man to an even filthier old man seems like a bit of a stretch -- Lopez is just a pervert, while Sandusky is straight-up evil. But state GOPers aren't comparing perverts, they're comparing coverups, which seems to be a somewhat valid comparison.
Silver -- for what the GOP claims is now the third time -- tried to sweep the charges against Lopez under the rug by secretly ponying up more than $100,000 in taxpayer money to payoff alleged victims in exchange for their silence.
New York Knicks vs. Memphis Grizzlies
TicketsSat., Oct. 29, 7:30pm
New York Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
TicketsSun., Oct. 30, 7:00pm
St. John's Red Storm Men's Basketball vs. Baruch College Bearcats Men's Basketball
TicketsMon., Oct. 31, 7:00pm
Brooklyn Nets vs. Chicago Bulls
TicketsMon., Oct. 31, 7:30pm
"Mr. Silver is as guilty of covering up sex crimes in Albany as Penn State administrators were of ignoring the deplorable crimes that occurred there, but not a single Democrat in the state has called on him to step aside," New York Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox says. "At least three times, Speaker Silver has chosen to circumvent the criminal justice system upon learning of sexual offenses by his close Democratic colleagues, offering hush-money pay-offs instead. Well, it's three strikes and you're out."
Forget Lopez's pervy-ness for a minute, and let's remember Silver's handling of past allegations of sexual misconduct, including those against his former chief counsel J. Michael Boxley.
In 2001, a young female staffer accused Boxley of sexually assaulting her in his apartment. Rather than go to police, she opted to pursue the matter through the Assembly, which turned out to be a mistake.
The investigation into Boxley was soon closed, and he remained on Silver's staff as if nothing ever happened.
Two years later, Boxley pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct -- in a sweetheart deal that kept him out of jail -- for an attack on a different woman. Then, in 2006, Silver and the Assembly agreed to pay $500,000 to a Jane Doe because the speaker failed to properly investigate the initial accusations and for "tolerating a culture of sexual harassment in the Assembly."
In both Lopez's and Boxley's cases, it seems the second wave of attacks could have potentially been avoided if the two men didn't think they had Silver in their pockets to sweep the matters under the rug.
Similarly, Sandusky was allowed to continue to abuse children because officials at Penn State tried to coverup the abuse -- rather than report it to authorities -- when they first learned of it in 2001.
Cox's assertion that Democrats have been silent on the issue isn't entirely accurate -- Democratic Assembly candidate Frank Commisso Jr. has said he won't support Silver for another term as speaker. Commisso just has to get elected first.
Other Dems, however -- including Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a leading voice in the Democratic mantra that Republicans have declared "war on women" -- refuse to even discuss the powerful speaker's role in covering up the allegations against Lopez.
If you ask us, there's a reason for their collective silence: they're terrified of Silver. Another way to put it: they're cowards.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.