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Cuomo To CBS Station: Upstate Lawmaker Should Resign If Sex Harassment Claims Are True

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

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BUFFALO (CBSNewYork) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo this weekend said an upstate assemblyman should resign if a series of graphic sexual harassment allegations against him turn out to be true.

Cuomo appeared in Buffalo on Saturday, one day after a sexual harassment complaint was filed against Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak (D-Cheektowaga.)

He was asked by Buffalo CBS affiliate WIVB-TV whether the allegations warranted Gabryszak’s resignation.

Cuomo replied, “Well if the allegations are true, I don’t believe a person who did what those allegations suggest has a place in public service,” the station reported.

“In life, people do stupid things,” Cuomo further told the station. “Sexual harassment is all too common in occupations all across the board. It is a societal problem. I like to believe that we hold elected officials to a higher standard and…we will not tolerate this behavior if true.”

On Friday, complaints were unveiled from three former female staffers who worked at Gabryszak’s legislative offices – including the state Capitol in Albany, the Times Union reported. The complaints were mailed to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and preserved the right to sue within a year, the newspaper reported.

WIVB uploaded a copy of the complaint, which details a series of graphic allegations.

One of the women, former communications director Annalise Freling, alleged in the complaint that Gabryszak said he became sexually aroused by seeing her and told her, “You’re so hot, you know what I want to do with you.” The complaint claimed the remarks led Freling to have a “panic attack.”

Another woman, Kimberly Snickles — who also served as communications director — claimed that Gabryszak “made numerous sexual jokes” about her at a staff lunch meeting and invited her to sleep in his hotel room, in an incident that made her “so upset… that she called her boyfriend and mother in tears,” the complaint said.

Snickles also alleged that Gabryzsak “regularly told her and a co-worker that they should wear bikinis to his events” and made numerous other sexually charged comments, the complaint said.

A third complainant, former legislative director Jamie Campbell, claimed that Gabryszak “requested her to go for massages with him” on several occasions, and told her, “If I don’t how you look, I can fire you,” the complaint said.

Freling and Campbell also claimed the lawmaker sent them a video message of what appeared to be himself sitting in a bathroom stall receiving oral sex, the complaint said.

All three women decided they “had no alternative other than to leave their employment,” the complaint said.

The case was set to go before the state Ethics Committee, the station reported.

Gabryszak has not addressed the allegations, the station reported. WIVB reporter Ed Drantch did speak to the assemblyman’s wife over the phone Saturday, and she said she was holding up, but also that the allegations did not come at a good time with Christmas coming up.

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