Facing numerous allegations of sexual harassment from his staffers and demands from every area of New York’s state government including from Governor Andrew Cuomo that he step down, New York Democratic Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak resigned Sunday.
Gabryszak (pictured), who is married with two children and is an assemblyman from the Buffalo area, claims he is innocent. He issued a resignation letter but said he was stepping down to minimize the damage to his family.
In the letter, published by the Buffalo News, Gabryszak claimed, “There was no sexual contact between me and any members of my staff… there was never a request that sexual contact should occur… 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.”
Gabryszak supported a 2012 law intended to terminate psychological abuse and intimidation in the workplace.
Ethics Committee Chairman Charles Lavine (D-Nassau County) told the New York Daily News he would cease his investigation of Gabryszak because the Ethics Committee’s purview does not include former state representatives. On December 21, Cuomo told WIBTV, “There will be an investigation. If true, he has to be out. Period. End of story.” On December 25, Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner said, “There is no place for this type of conduct; the work place should be a safe and respectful environment for employees.”
The allegations against Gabrysak include longtime communications director Kristy Mazurek’s accusation that Gabryszak suggested she and another female staffer pose on his lap for a Christmas photo wearing costumes as sexy elves. Another scandal involved Kimberly Snickles, 26, Director of Communications from May 2013 through October 2013, who said Gabryszak asked her to join him on a visit to a massage parlor her first week working for him and also asserted that he asked her to spend the night at his apartment. She also reported that Gabryszak told her and an intern of a “tattoo on his penis.”
However, even that wasn’t enough for him; Snickles said Gabryszak “regularly told her and a co-worker that they should wear bikinis to his events.”
A third staffer, Jamie L. Campbell, 24, Gabryszak’s former legislative director from 2010 to 2013, said he sent her a video in 2011 revealing a man in a bathroom stall “either receiving or pretending to be receiving fellatio.” She added that Gabryszak incessantly informed her about women with whom he wanted to have sex and “alluded to a prior affair with a former assemblywoman.” She also stated that Gabryszak offered her $100,000 to move to relocate for her job. When she refused because she was engaged, Gabryszak allegedly said, “I guess I will just have to get your fiancé to break up with you.”
Annalise C. Freling, 28, who served as Director of Communications from 2011 through 2013, alleged that Gabryszak tried to date her on Valentine’s Day in 2011 and offered a set of pearls to her, as well as frequently telling her, “You’re so hot, you know what I want to do with you.” She also said that Gabryszak called her from a massage parlor when he forgot his wallet and pressured her into bringing the wallet to him there. She alleged that Gabrysak very often asked her to join him for massages.