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Things just went from incredibly bad to incredibly worse for shamed Assemblyman Vito Lopez.
Not only has he been “disciplined” by Democratic Assembly leader Sheldon Silver, but he could potentially face criminal charges for several claims of alleged pervy-ness made against him by multiple female staffers.
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes announced this afternoon that he’s requested that a special prosecutor look into whether any of the claims made against Lopez are criminal offenses. Hynes can’t investigate the allegations himself because he “determined that the support of the Kings County Democratic County Committee, led by Assemblyman Lopez, for my re-election campaign in 2009 and my upcoming re-election (2013) had the potential to create an appearance of impropriety.”
Further reading on Lopez’s pervy-ness:
Lopez, as we’ve chronicled, is kind of a pervert. Several former female employees of the once-powerful pol have made claims that he sexually harassed them in one way or another — one claims he asked to not wear a bra to work, while another claims he shoved his hand up her skirt.
Two woman who alleged sexual misconduct against Lopez were paid $130,000 in taxpayer money to essentially keep their mouths shut — which probably would have been kept quiet if not for two additional women making claims that Lopez sexually harassed them. Those women claim the harassment occurred just weeks after the state dished out the settlement cash to the initial alleged victims.
See Hynes’ entire announcement below:
“Press reports concerning the report of the Assembly Standing Committee on Ethics and Guidance to Speaker Sheldon Silver, regarding allegations against Assemblyman Vito Lopez, did not make clear the county where the alleged acts occurred.
“I made a request to the Standing Committee to determine if any of the conduct occurred in Kings County. On Wednesday Aug. 29, Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, chair of the committee advised me that some of the conduct did occur in Kings County.
“Later that day I asked for and received a copy of the committee’s letter to Speaker Silver. After review with my senior staff I determined that the support of the Kings County Democratic County Committee, led by Assemblyman Lopez, for my re-election campaign in 2009 and my upcoming re-election (2013) had the potential to create an appearance of impropriety requiring me to apply for the appointment of another District Attorney to conduct an investigation of the committee’s findings.
“This morning I applied for the appointment of a Special District Attorney and am making public my affirmation supporting my application.”