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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Buffalo Democrat calls on Silver to resign

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New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is facing pressure to step down, after he acknowledged mishandling sexual harassment complaints against Assembly member Vito Lopez.

Lopez resigned Monday after reports by a special prosecutor and the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics detailed claims by women against him.

Silver has issued an apology for his handling of the case, which spanned years and involved at least four women staffers before it was revealed.

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Reported by

Julie Grant
Reporter and Producer

The Speaker says he championed the Assembly's policy for sexual harassment complaints against members. But when the first allegations against Lopez surfaced last summer, the Speaker crafted a $103,000 secret settlement.

Buffalo-area Assembly member Michael Kearns is among those who want Silver to step down.  Until that happens, he says he's leaving the democratic caucus.

"The democratic party that I believe in stands up for women's rights, and does not tolerate sexual harassment at any level. The democratic party that I believe, stands up to powerful interests, it does not cover up for them.  The democratic party that I believe in protects the powerless, it doesn't pay off politicians.  Sheldon Silver does not represent that democratic party that we all believe in, and I am calling on him today to step down."

Silver apologized for the secret settlement that put to rest the first accusations against Assemblyman Vito Lopez — and for failing to stop subsequent incidents reported by other women staffers.

On Monday, he proposed a series of reforms to the state's sexual harassment policy.

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