Lawmaker lags on a decision
It was in February 2011 when word – and a photo – of scandal broke. U.S. Rep. Christopher Lee sent a woman a photo of himself shirtless. Within hours, the Congressional member resigned.
“It has been a tremendous honor to serve the people of Western New York. I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents. I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness,” Lee said in a statement on that Feb. 11 evening.
Fast-forward to December 2013 and another Western New York lawmaker is facing charges of sexual harassment from current and former employees, but he has not been seen or heard from since the story broke.
Dennis Gabryszak, a state Assemblyman from Cheektowaga, has been told by his attorney to do exactly what elected officials are not accustomed to doing: stay silent in regard to the allegations from the female staffers regarding his unwanted remarks and advances.
State Gov. Andrew Cuomo, however, has voiced his concerns. Just last week he called for two lawmakers to resign due to harassment allegations.
“The latest reports of sexual harassment in the Assembly should be the last straw,” Cuomo said in a statement released Tuesday. “This pattern of behavior is repugnant by every standard and directly contradicts the policies the Assembly has advanced for the last 20 years.”
Lee made a bad decision and immediately owned up to it. Gabryszak, by his sudden seclusion and lack of denial since December, seems to be in the same situation.
His delay in addressing the issue – by resigning or denying – reflects poorly on the state and those he serves.