So, this is what happens if you spend years upon years (allegedly) groping your young, female employees, demanding that they come to work braless, and paying for their silence with taxpayer money: essentially nothing. According to the New York Post, State Assemblyman (and former Brooklyn Democratic Party leader) Vito Lopez won’t be facing any criminal charges, after a drawn-out investigation into myriad sexual harassment claims failed to turn up enough hard evidence. The prosecutor in the case is expected to make an announcement later today.
Since the scandal broke last summer, there’s been significant fallout for Lopez’s allies within Brooklyn’s Democratic party, particularly for City Council member Stephen Levin, Lopez’s onetime protege, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who had given the go-ahead for spending $103,000 of taxpayer funds to quietly settle the issue with two of Lopez’s accusers. Now, the Post reports, Lopez has a quiet supporter in Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson, who has “left the door open for an endorsement.”
After stepping down from any major leadership positions last summer, Lopez still retains a seat in the Assembly, and is said to be contemplating a run for city council. A full 58-page report on accusations against Lopez—which had been withheld from the public for the sake of the investigation—is expected to be released soon, so, criminal charges or no, brace yourself for plenty of horrible details to come.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.