December 22, 2013

Name That Party, ‘War on Women’ Division: Democratic N.Y. Assemblyman Accused of ‘Sexual Bullying’

Let’s get it out of the way up-front, and excuse the “too much information” element via the New York Post: New York State Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak is a Democrat who has been accused of having “tormented three workers with lewd antics such as sending a video of himself supposedly receiving oral sex, suggesting they shack up with him in hotels and …” — sorry, readers who really want to know the final item will have to go to the link.

At the Albany Times Union, which appears to have been the paper which broke the story, reporter James M. Odato waited until the last of his 20 paragraphs to inform readers that “The Erie County Democrat represents the densely populated town of Cheektowaga.” Naturally, the Associated Press’s far briefer unbylined report did not note Gabryszak’s party affiliation. Party ID-free excerpts from Odato’s report follow the jump (HT JWF; bolds are mine):

Aides allege harassment
Assemblyman is accused of sexual bullying

In the spring of 2012, state Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak announced his support for a law designed to crack down on psychological abuse and intimidation in the workplace. “You need to have an environment that is stress-free … (and) conducive to doing the job that needs to be done,” he said at a news conference for the Healthy Workplace Bill, aimed at making it unlawful for a supervisor to bully and harass.

At the same time, several of his female aides were in anguish over the way Gabryszak indulged in sexual comments, inappropriate questions and unwanted social invitations, according to new complaints from three former staffers of the western New York politician.

Young women in Gabryszak’s employ at that time and later say he didn’t practice what he preached, but instead created a hostile work environment. They want an investigation.

Gabryszak, 62, now faces complaints from three former aides — two from western New York and one from Clifton Park — who worked at his legislative offices, including in the Capitol.

According to their complaints, the married father of two adult children carried on in front of these women in ways that unnerved them and caused them to complain to top legislative aides in the office, who allegedly did nothing.

The three women expect Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to do something.

… The women say they were forced to quit and lost pay and benefits. In the notice served on the attorney general’s office on Thursday, they say they seek remuneration, monetary compensation and a judgment. Their notice says that two more former employees of the assemblyman will soon come forward with similar allegations. The notice was filed by attorney Johnny G. Destino of Niagara Falls.

In the filing and in complaints mailed to Silver, the women describe an office led by an elected official who indulged in sexual innuendo and talked about other women and sex obsessively.

Read the whole thing — if you can stand it.

Here’s the AP’s party ID-free five-paragraph rendition, headlined “NY Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak accused of sexual harassment by three aides” (presented in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes):

APonGabryszakNYassyHarassment1213

For all the talk of a Republican “war on women,” it seems that a preponderance of these high-profile harassment sagas, especially the most recent (e.g., Anthony Weiner, Bob Filner) involve Democrats. Of course, you’d never know that from the press coverage.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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