May 15, 2013 3:41 PM GMT
“Certainly, what we found is alarming,” Daniel M. Donovan, Jr., the Staten Island district attorney who was appointed special prosecutor in the case, said of Mr. Lopez’s conduct in a seven-page statement released Wednesday. But Mr. Donovan said claims brought by four of Mr. Lopez’s employees did not rise to the level of “a chargeable crime.”
Mr. Donovan, a Republican, criticized the Assembly at some length for its handling of the complaints, which were initially kept quiet by the staff of the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, a Democrat. When the first two women complained about Mr. Lopez’s conduct, Mr. Silver’s staff negotiated confidential settlements with them, and did not refer their complaints to the Assembly’s ethics committee.
“The chief concern of those in the Assembly was mitigating the Assembly’s damages,” Mr. Donovan wrote. “That goal outweighed any interest in investigating or disciplining Assembly Member Lopez or in preventing similar occurrences in the future.”
Mr. Donovan also said his investigation showed that a confidentiality clause included in settlement agreements with the first two women who came forward was “crafted at the request not of the complainants but of Assembly Member Lopez.”
The Assembly leadership publicly censured Mr. Lopez after two more women came forward with complaints.