ALBANY – There were no signs of Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak at the Capitol today for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address.
In the first day of the 2014 session since allegations of sexual harassment began popping out last month, Gabryszak’s colleagues wondered aloud all morning if the lawmaker would appear in Albany for today’s State of the State address. Seven former female staffers have accused the Depew Democrat of sexual harassment.
With the Assembly gaveled into session, Gabryszak’s seat – number 37 on the Assembly floor – was empty.
Gabryszak did not check in today, meaning he was marked as absent from the first day of the 2014 session.
“If the allegations are in fact true, and his silence is inexplicable, then clearly he should resign," said Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, a Manhattan Democrat.
“Clearly the majority of these instances are men harassing women, and women legislators just don’t even understand the mindset, so some of the solution has to come from men having an honest discussion about what’s appropriate behavior and why there are some members who can’t adhere to normal, appropriate, professional behavior,” Glick added. “And if he has a compulsion, he should resign and spend his time in some sort of rehab.’’
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who last month referred Gabryszak’s case to the Assembly ethics commission for investigation, said today he did not know when or if the lawmaker might return.
Terrence Connors, Gabryszak’s lawyer, last week said he did not think the lawmaker would turn out for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address but that he likely would show up for the Assembly session. Today is the first official day of the Assembly’s 2014 session, though next Monday is treated by lawmakers as the first real day for work to get started on the floor.
Sources in Albany, meanwhile, said today that Gabryszak has been calling around to former female staffers who have not accused him of sexual harassment to determine if they ever saw any evidence of him verbally abusing women on his staff.