Disgraced former Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak is back in the spotlight, as the focus of a new report from the state's Joint Commission on Public Ethics.
The report criticizes the former assemblyman for his "treatment of female staff members" and appears to back up the allegations and claims he violated public officer's law, which is essentially the state's code of conduct for lawmakers.
The commission interviewed 12 witnesses, who confirmed accounts that Gabryszak used gender as criteria in making hiring decisions and openly admitted that the primary criteria for female staffers’ employment was whether or not he thought they were “pretty.”
In addition, the commission concluded Gabryszak's misconduct was sexual in nature and included:
- sending two female staff members a video of himself in which he appeared to be receiving oral sex;
- asking his female employees to accompany him to massages and strip clubs;
- commenting about their clothes and bodies; showing them photographs of scantily clad women;
- invading the personal space of his female employees by hovering directly over them at their desks to the point they had to lean out of his way;
- openly discussing his sexually named fantasy football teams;
- and offering them gifts inappropriate for a supervisor/subordinate professional relationship.
According to the commission, Gabryszak used the authority of his office to overcome resistance to his sexually inappropriate behavior through manipulation and intimidation. They say the former assemblyman marginalized female staffers who were not receptive to his behavior, actually telling a number of them they “served at the pleasure of the member” and could be fired for any reason, including if he disapproved of their appearance.
The commission says despite several complaints, Gabryszak ignored his staff’s requests to stop his behavior.
Gabryszak resigned back in January of 2014 after several former staffers filed sexual harassment complaints against him. It's important to note, the findings of the report do not result in criminal charges, however, they could help pave the way for legal action against the Cheektowaga man.
Seven staffers are suing Gabryszak, six in state court and one in federal court.
7 Eyewitness News has reached out to Gabryszak's attorney but has not heard back.
Stay in Touch Anywhere, Anytime with News, Weather and Video -- Download the WKBW app:
Or Sign Up for Our Newsletters -- Delivered to Your E-mail: