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Probe Finds Assemblyman Sexually Harassed Staff

New York Assemblyman Micah Kellner (credit: New York State Assembly)

New York Assemblyman Micah Kellner (credit: New York State Assembly)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York state lawmaker Micah Kellner violated the Assembly’s sexual harassment policy by making inappropriate comments to staff members in 2009 and 2011, an ethics committee investigation found.

Following the results of the probe released Monday, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said Kellner, D-Manhattan, would be removed from his post as chairman of the committee on libraries.

Silver said Kellner also will not be permitted to have interns working in his office, and he will be required to attend sexual harassment training.

Silver said Kellner’s conduct “cannot be tolerated.” He said Kellner is ineligible for any other committee chairmanship.

In addition, an investigator will conduct semi-annual “climate surveys” of Kellner’s staff to check for inappropriate conduct.

Kellner’s spokesman said the assemblyman had no immediate comment.

In July, Kellner said he deeply regrets an incident with a young female staffer to whom he sent sexually suggestive messages on Facebook in 2009. The accusation, including 15 pages of transcribed online chats, was reported at the time to longtime Assembly lawyer Bill Collins.

“Over four years ago, for a few weeks while I was still single, I exchanged instant messages with a female member of my staff that were flirtatious,” Kellner said in a statement. “It was inappropriate. I was wrong and it was stupid. When I was told that my staffer felt the messages were unprofessional, I immediately stopped and regretted placing her in that position. I was sorry then and I am sorry now.”

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