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Silver to push new system for handling allegations of wrongdoing

By Tom Precious

ALBANY – The Assembly will investigate moving to a new policy to have sexual harassment and other complaints against lawmakers handled by an outside, private investigator and not through internal channels, according to a Democratic Buffalo lawmaker.

Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes said she believes the new system will be recommended later this afternoon by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in the wake of how he and his top staff secretly handled sexual harassment claims against former Assemblyman Vito Lopez. She said a task force that Silver appointed her to three weeks ago has already been looking into the idea.

Peoples-Stokes said officials are also examining a new policy to require mandatory reporting of suspected abuse cases.

"If my staff saw me doing something wrong, they'd be required to report it,'' she said of the policy being drafted.

The lawmaker joined other Democrats emerging from a closed-door session with Silver this afternoon giving the longtime Assembly leader a vote of confidence. Silver, she said, recognized he mishandled the Lopez case.

"And he apologized for it. A lot of people when they make mistakes are not going to apologize for it,'' she said.

She said a leadership change this late in the session would create "total chaos.''

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Albany | Sheldon Silver
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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

[email protected]


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

[email protected]


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | [email protected]


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | [email protected]

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