Two women who claim they were sexually harassed by former Assemblyman Vito Lopez have filed a new complaint against the state, alleging that the former Brooklyn pol would not have been able to abuse the plaintiffs without the acquiescence of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan.
The new complaint by Victoria Burhans and Chloe Rivera in Manhattan Supreme Court came after their original claim was dismissed on a technicality. Supreme Court Justice Joan Kenney (See Profile) threw out Burhans and Rivera v. Assembly, 155232/13, in March on the grounds that the Assembly itself was not a proper party to the suit (NYLJ, March 12).
The attorney for the plaintiffs, Kevin Mintzer of Manhattan, is appealing Kenney’s ruling while accepting the judge’s invitation to refile the action while naming the state as defendant.
A complaint filed March 27 largely mirrors the prior suit. It alleges that Silver aided and abetted Lopez’ misconduct by failing to address complaints by other staffers that the assemblyman had harassed them.
Lopez, a Democrat, resigned last year after the Joint Commission on Public Ethics issued a report concluding that he had harassed at least eight staffers, including the plaintiffs in this case.