Gabryszak noted that he would continue to defend himself against the accusations but made his decision to retire due to the impact the controversy has had on his family.
In recent notices of claim against Gabryszak, he is accused of grabbing one woman and trying to kiss her and of telling another during a 2012 incident that, "You're so hot, you know what I want to do with you."
Other claims include allegations that he regularly directed lewd comments at the femal staffers and created a workplace atmosphere that caused them to quit, seeking compensation for lost wages.
The Assembly and Gabryszak are both named in the notices of claim filed by 7 former staffers, preserving their right to sue over what they say was the kind of workplace environment that they could not continue in. The notices are the first step toward a lawsuit.
Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver issued the following statement after learning of the Gabryszak's announcement:
"The allegations concerning Mr. Gabryszak’s behavior have been extremely disturbing. The citizens of the 143rd Assembly District deserve to be represented by someone who will be a strong voice for their community and focused on getting things done. As I have said from the start, sexual harassment has no place in the State Assembly and it will not be tolerated. Mr. Gabryszak’s decision to resign his Assembly seat is the right one."
|Statement from Gov. Cuomo:
"Following the latest reports of horrific behavior in the Assembly against Assemblymember Gabryszak, I asked him to either deny the allegations or resign immediately. Today, he has given us his answer. Our representatives in elected office can and should be held to a higher standard -- especially at a time when the Legislature's ethics are being questioned and the confidence of their constituents being undermined. This kind of alleged behavior has no place in New York State government or any other office in society. My thoughts are with the alleged victims and Mr. Gabrysak's family during this difficult time."
Silver, a Democrat, faced blistering criticism for using $103,000 in public money for a secret settlement to end sex harassment claims against Vito Lopez, a former Democratic assemblyman from Brooklyn. Lopez, who resigned last year, has denied sexually harassing anyone.
More recently, the Assembly ethics committee said its investigation showed Democratic Assemblyman Micah Kellner of Manhattan violated the house's sexual harassment policy by making inappropriate comments to staff members in 2009 and 2011.
Kellner denies the accusations against him and said he would appeal the committee's finding.Gabryszak is a former town supervisor in Cheektowaga who was elected to the Assembly in November 2006. His Assembly biography says he has been married for 37 years and has two children.
VIDEO: Courtesy WGRZ.com/Channel 2 News:
Click Below to See The Gabryszak Announcement
A copy of Gabryszak's announcement follows:
Just a few days ago, I was provided the last in a series of allegations made by a group of women who were members of my staff. I have not replied until now because I had not even seen all of the allegations until two days ago. It would have been foolish to respond to allegations I had not yet seen.
During this difficult time, I have continued to fulfill my obligations as a member of the New York State Assembly. I attended meetings in my district and worked in my office responding to requests and inquiries from my constituents.
I have also had lengthy discussions with advisers, supporters and long-time friends. Most importantly, I have spoken at length to the people who mean the most to me, my family. I have also observed first-hand the impact this has had on them.
At this time, I want the public and my colleagues to know:
-There was no sexual contact between me and any members of my staff.
-There was never a request that sexual contact should occur.
-There was never any intent on my part to sexually harass any member of my staff or to create a hostile work environment.
- In fact, there are allegations that have been made that are demonstrably false.
-There was mutual banter and exchanges that took place that should not have taken place because it is inappropriate in the workplace even if it does not constitute sexual harassment.
My decision today is based upon the impact this has had on my family and my concern for the important work of the assembly.
I have, therefore, decided that after 32 years of public service, I will retire from the New York State Assembly. I want to thank all my supporters and constituents from each stage of my public life. It has been an honor to represent you. I am proud of the legislation I have sponsored and the issues I have championed. Often these accomplishments have made a difference in the lives of the people I represented.
I will continue to defend the allegations in the civil litigation that have been made against me, the assembly and the state of New York.
I want to thank all who have reached out to offer support to me and my family. I have learned who my true friends are.
This is a difficult time for me and my family. I will consider questions at a future date.
– Hon. Dennis H. Gabryszak