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N.Y.'s latest sex scandal dogged by sordid past

Published September 27, 2012 2:08 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Albany, N.Y. • Sexual harassment accusations against a New York assemblyman that emerged over the summer are hardly unusual in a state capital.

That's especially true in Albany, which has a history of sexual misconduct by lawmakers.

But what began as a relatively tame scandal surrounding Democratic Assemblyman Vito Lopez has pierced the veil of secrecy. It's now the subject of review by a state ethics committee and a criminal probe.

A secret six-figure payoff to the accusers with taxpayer money was approved by Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

How effectively the Joint Commission on Public Ethics handles the politically charged case will reflect on the man who created it as part of his campaign promise to "clean up" Albany. That's Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, long considered a possible presidential candidate in 2016.