Gabryszak targeted by aide still on his staff - The Buffalo News

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Gabryszak targeted by aide still on his staff

Another female aide to Assemblyman Dennis H. Gabryszak has come forward to complain about his alleged advances and suggestive come-ons.

Unlike the three other young women who complained about Gabryszak in a notice of claim made public last week, Caitrin Kennedy still works for the assemblyman. She’s in her third month as his director of community relations, earning about $38,000 a year.

Kennedy says Gabryszak uttered some suggestive remarks just days ago, according to the notice that names Gabryszak and the Assembly as respondents and will be sent to the State Court of Claims this week.

Her accusations, according to the document:

• As Gabryszak and his staff posed for pictures at a holiday party in New York City around Dec. 11, he suggested that Kennedy kiss his legislative director, a woman, and that they “touch butts.’’

• On Dec. 16, Gabryszak allowed a male visitor to his Cheektowaga office – not identified in the document – to sum her up by saying, “Dennis, you told me you had an animal working here, but you didn’t tell me she was a fox.’’

• At a holiday party in Amherst the next day, Gabryszak said in the presence of other women that he found Kennedy’s attire attractive and that she should “come to work dressed like that.’’

• The day after that, at a luncheon in the Holiday Inn near Buffalo Niagara International Airport, they passed a hot tub and Gabryszak says he’d like to get in it with her.

In their court notice dated Thursday, three former legislative aides alleged they, too, were sexually harassed by the assemblyman.

Annalise Freling, Jamie Campbell and Kimberly Snickles reported, for example, that Gabryszak would talk about his erections and suggest that the aides spend the night with him in his Albany apartment or in hotel rooms. He sent one a video of him receiving, or pretending to receive, oral sex in a bathroom, according to the document.

Lawyer Terrance M. Connors of Buffalo represents Gabryszak in the matter. When the first notice of claim surfaced, Connors stressed that it contained only allegations. Further, a notice of claim is not a lawsuit, only a signal that one might be filed. Connors chose not to comment immediately about the new allegations Monday.

Meanwhile, Gabryszak’s political career hangs in the balance. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said during a visit to Buffalo on Saturday that fellow Democrat Gabryszak should resign if the accusations are true. Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Jeremy Zellner had already made a similar statement.

Usually when a scandal surfaces with a Democrat in the Assembly, Speaker Sheldon Silver urges Albany reporters to let the Assembly’s internal investigation run its course. But this year’s uproar involving Brooklyn Democrat Vito Lopez may have ushered in a new day. Over the summer, Silver was accused of helping cover for Lopez, who eventually resigned amid reports that he asked young women staffers to massage him, touch his cancerous tumors and join him in hotel rooms. In New York City on Monday, Silver said Gabryszak should leave if the allegations are true.

According to Kennedy’s notice, Gabryszak began his odd and questionable comments soon after she began working for him Sept. 30.

During her first week, when she was temporarily in Albany, she says he told her they should attend a couples’ massage. He would suggest they visit strip clubs, and in November he joked that if workers in the sex trade were to unionize, he would no longer be able to afford them. The document also says she often found stored on the office camera pictures of scantily clad women in hotel rooms.

“She was new to this job,’’ said Diana Cihak, a public relations professional who called herself a friend to Kennedy and was speaking publicly for her Monday.

Cihak said Gabryszak “increased the level of harassment in the last couple of weeks’’ and that Kennedy was looking for a way to complain when the other women filed.

“She was unaware that they were going to file,’’ Cihak said.

News Staff Reporter Dan Herbeck and Albany Bureau Chief Tom Precious contributed to this report. email:

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