Ed Cox, chair of the state Republican party, called for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to resign his post over his office’s handling of a sexual harassment scandal.
Meanwhile, the chamber’s Republican leader, Brian Kolb of Canandaigua, Ontario County, stopped short of demanding Silver to step down.
Cox said in a statement Wednesday that whether Silver or Assemblyman Vito Lopez, D-Brooklyn, were found to have committed crimes is irrelevant. He called Lopez’ actions “morally and ethically reprehensible and totally unforgivable.”
“Sexual abuse is not a partisan issue. Every member of the New York State Assembly, especially its Speaker, should be held to the highest moral and ethical standards. Once again, Speaker Silver has lowered the bar; in this case, he even violated his own Assembly regulations.
“By silencing earlier victims of sexual abuse, both at the hands of Michael Boxley and Vito Lopez, Speaker Silver is directly responsible for their subsequent victims.
“We repeat our call for Vito Lopez to resign from the State Assembly and for Sheldon Silver to resign the Speakership.”
Kolb, leader of the Assembly Republican conference, released a statement Wednesday calling the report “troubling and deeply disturbing.” He didn’t criticize the speaker directly.
Here’s his full statement:
“The details contained in this report are deeply troubling—to put it mildly. The investigation conducted by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) has uncovered a work environment and pattern of behavior that is alarming, unacceptable, and damaging to the individuals forced to endure those conditions.
“There has been a great deal of anticipation for the release of the report, but making a public document available to the public is hardly the end of the process or cause for celebration. The JCOPE report was overdue, and with the conclusion of the investigation, with disturbing details now released, the public will rightfully expect and demand action.
“The Staten Island District Attorney has elected not to pursue criminal charges in this matter, but has shed light on serious shortcomings in how this alarming situation was handled. The decision not to pursue a criminal case is irrelevant to the duties that now rest with the Legislative Ethics Commission.
“At a time when public outcry for government reforms and anti-corruption measures has never been more intense, we must demand immediate action and clear recommendations from the Legislative Ethics Commission in response to this alarming report regarding Assemblyman Vito Lopez.”
(Pictured: Cox, AP photo)