Buffalo Assemblyman Steps Down, Says Sexual Harassment Was Just ‘Mutual Banter’

By
Dennis Gabryszak.

At least New Jersey can take comfort in the fact that Bridgegate is less disgusting than New York's recent scandals. A month after seven current and former employees accused New York State Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak, a 62-year-old Buffalo-area Democrat, of sexual harassment, he announced on Sunday that he will retire. In court papers the women accused Gabryszak of a wide variety of gross behavior, including making sexual advances, discussing his experiences with strip clubs and prostitutes, and sending a video of himself receiving or pretending to receive oral sex. Gabryszak didn't apologize in his statement, and only admitted, "There was mutual banter and exchanges that took place that should not have taken place because it is inappropriate in the workplace even if it does not constitute sexual harassment."

Gabryszak added that there was "never any intent on my part to sexually harass" employees, and "no sexual contact between me and any members of my staff." He vowed to continue defending himself in court against "allegations that have been made that are demonstrably false."

On New Year's Eve, Governor Andrew Cuomo called on Gabryszak to either defend himself against the allegations or resign, and the matter was being investigated by the Standing Committee on Ethics and Guidance. Previous ethics investigations were dropped after the Assembly member stepped down, and the Daily News notes that after 32 years of government service, Gabryszak can collect a pension estimated to be worth $53,000 a year or more.