Six Harassment Lawsuits Over Ex-NY Assemblyman

     BUFFALO, N.Y. (CN) – The New York State Assembly turned a blind eye to former Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak’s serial sexual harassment of female staffers, six separate lawsuits allege.
     Filed on Nov. 13 with the Erie County Supreme Court, the complaints by Emily Trimper, Kristy Mazurek, Jamie Campbell, Annalise Freling, Kimberly Snickles and Tina Tardone come nearly a year after the assembly ethics committee began investigating their claims.
     Gabryszak stepped down as the representative for New York’s 143rd District, covering several suburbs outside of Buffalo, this past January. He joined the assembly in 2007.
     Freling claims Gabryszak sent her a video that showed him sitting in a bathroom stall, from the mid-abdomen up, in which he “theatrically presented a visual image of himself receiving fellatio.”
     He informed female staffers that he could fire them if he did not like the way they looked, and told Freling the only reason he hired her was “because she was pretty,” according to her complaint.
     Each lawsuit names Gabryszak, the assembly, and the state as a defendant, as well as Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and chief of staff Adam Locher.
     They include allegations that Gabryszak invited female staff members to a massage parlor and offered them gifts such as Coach bags and pearls.
     He allegedly offered Campbell a salary of $100,000 if she relocated from Albany to western New York. When she refused, citing the fact that she recently bought a house with her fiance, Gabryszak said: “I guess I will just have to get your fiance to break up with you,” her lawsuit says.
     Mazurek, a former communications director, says her salary was reduced from $52,000 to $29,000 as retaliation for refusing the assemblyman’s sexual advances.
     Gabryszak purportedly sent Freling a Facebook message about Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, referring to her as “Malliocockkiss.”
     He continuously talked about various women he wanted to have sex with, according to the complaints, and spoke about prostitutes and his regular visits to a local strip club.
     Gabryszak allegedly told Freling: “You’re so hot, you know what I want to do with you.” She says this incident and others caused her to have a panic attack.
     Tardone says, when she informed Locher of the assemblyman’s behavior, his response to her was: “Ignore it, that’s the way Dennis is.”
     The plaintiffs say Silver was also aware of the harassment and did nothing to stop it.
     Gabryszak denied the allegations in a written statement.
     “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,” he said in the statement.
     The plaintiffs are all represented by John Bartolomei with John P. Bartolomei & Associates, in Niagara Falls.

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