Cuomo: NY ethics panel should probe Assemblyman Vito Lopez

Assemb. Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn)

Assemb. Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn) (Credit: Bryan Pace, 2001)

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ALBANY - Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants the case of an assemblyman accused of sexual harassment to go to the state ethics board.

Cuomo said he can't direct the independent Joint Commission on Public Ethics to take the case, but he says JCOPE could handle the disputed elements of the case.

The Assembly's ethics committee found Assemblyman Vito Lopez, the Brooklyn Democratic Party chairman, sexually harassed women staffers, and he was stripped of his leadership post.

MORE: Editorial: The never-ending Albany cleanup | Cuomo: Brooklyn assemblyman should resign

Lopez has maintained he never harassed anyone.

Cuomo said Tuesday that if sexual harassment is proven, Lopez should resign. But the governor said the facts must be determined first.

Lopez, 71, said he'll continue serving in the Assembly seat he's held for 28 years, a post that pays him a full salary as well as his pension.

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