AP report in Newsday quotes my remarks on the sexual harassment matter involving UES Assemblyman Micah Kellner and the Assembly lawyer accused of covering it up.
Former Democratic Assemblyman Michael Benjamin said [Assembly Counsel Bill] Collins was “no lone wolf” and that regular sexual harassment training required after past scandals makes the reporting process of even questionable accusations clear.
“Staff protect members out of reflex, but they know enough to keep the speaker in the loop,” said Benjamin, now a political commentator. “This episode doesn’t sound plausible to me. Lastly, it makes a mockery of our members and staff sexual harassment training sessions.”
The case is the latest in a string of sexual harassment and misconduct cases in the Assembly during the tenure of Silver, who has run the chamber since 1994 and is a powerful figure in Albany. He is still trying to recover from his own mishandling of sexual harassment claims last year against Democratic Assemblyman Vito Lopez of Brooklyn. Silver used public money to pay a secret $103,000 settlement to the accusers to end charges against Lopez.