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State settles Gabryszak sexual harassment lawsuit for $125K

New York State has settled a sexual harassment lawsuit by a female aide against former Assemblyman Dennis H. Gabryszak for $125,000, according to the state Attorney General's Office.

The state, represented by the Attorney General's Office, has agreed to pay $100,000 in damages and $25,000 for lost wages to settle the suit filed against it in the state Court of Claims.

Gabryszak had been accused by the aide of making suggestive statements and advances to the woman while she worked for him.

The Buffalo News is not naming the accuser due to the nature of the allegations. The suit was filed by one of seven former staffers who accused Gabryszak of sexual harassment. Gabryszak resigned from the Assembly in January 2014, the month after allegations surfaced.

Prathima C. Reddy, attorney for the woman who filed suit in the Court of Claims, did not respond to messages requesting comment.

Terrence M. Connors, Gabryszak's attorney, declined comment saying he was not aware of the contents of the agreement.

According to the notice of claim filed in December 2013 in advance of the lawsuit, the former aide's accusations against Gabryszak included:

  • While the assemblyman and staff were posing for pictures at a holiday party earlier that month, suggesting the woman kiss another female employee and that they "touch butts."
  • Allowing a male office visitor to say, "Dennis, you told me you had an animal working here, but you didn't tell me she was a fox."
  • Saying in the presence of other women at the holiday party that he found the aide's attire attractive and that she should "come to work dressed like that."
  • While walking past a hot tub during a luncheon at a hotel and saying he would like to get in it with her.

Gabryszak still faces lawsuits from four of the seven women, including a federal lawsuit filed in November 2014 by the woman whose Court of Claims case was settled.

Lawsuits filed by three other former aides were dismissed in State Supreme Court in late 2015 when a judge ruled the claims exceeded the statute of limitations.

In 2016, the state Legislative Ethics Commission fined Gabryszak $70,000 for "inappropriate conduct" with former female staffers. The commission at the time also fined him $30,000 for "misappropriation" of state funds to help his re-election bid.

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