Posted at: 05/18/2013 3:27 PM
Updated at: 05/18/2013 10:15 PM
By: Dan Bazile
Embattled Assemblyman Vito Lopez is stepping down on Monday amid sexual harassment allegations. The move comes before expulsion procedures against him were to begin.
Vito Lopez's resignation came in the form of a letter to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver early Saturday morning. He simply said he was stepping down effective 9:00am Monday.
Hours earlier the Brooklyn Assemblyman released a statement saying he would leave at the end of session on June 20th.
Lopez had been under mounting pressure from both sides of the aisle to take a hike after two of his female staffers accused him of sexual harassment. Then two reports, one from a downstate special prosecutor - the other from the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) - revealed the allegations in detail.
The JCOPE report says Lopez tried to get the women alone in his hotel room, on special trips and in his car, and tried to rent apartments with them. When the women rejected his advances and touches, the report says Lopez would threaten their jobs.
Lopez was never charged with a crime. The Monday resignation will prevent him from facing possible expulsion from the Assembly.
While some say the scandal is now over. Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin says not so fast. He says Silver's office paid more than $100,000 Lopez's alleged victims to keep the scandal quiet, and there are more questions about what appears to be a cover up.