New York

NY Assemblyman Accused of Harassment Won't Face Charges

Assembly criticized for keeping problems a secret

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Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez, a Brooklyn Democrat accused of sexual harassment by female employees, will not face criminal charges for his conduct, but a special prosecutor investigating his behavior criticized the State Assembly for its handling of the allegations.

"Certainly, what we found is alarming," Daniel M. Donovan, Jr., the Staten Island district attorney who was appointed special prosecutor in the case, said of Mr. Lopez's conduct in a seven-page statement released Wednesday. But Mr. Donovan said Mr. Lopez had not committed "a chargeable crime" in Brooklyn, where the prosecutor had jurisdiction.

Mr. Donovan, a Republican, criticized the Assembly at some length for its handling of the complaints, which were initially kept quiet by the staff of the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, a Democrat. When the first two women complained about Mr. Lopez's conduct, Mr. Silver's staff negotiated confidential settlements with them, and did not refer their complaints to the Assembly's ethics committee.