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State settles sexual harassment cases against 2 former lawmakers

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Hogan Willig Attorneys at Law
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WBFO File Photo

The New York state ethics commission has settled with a former assemblymember and a former senate staffer in two cases involving sexual harassment.

The case against former Conservative Assemblymember Angela Wozniak, who represented the Cheektowaga/Depew/Lancaster area, dates from 2016. She was accused of harassing a male staffer after Wozniak, who was married, had a brief consensual romantic relationship with her employee.

Wozniak, in the settlement with the Joint Commission on Public Ethics admits her conduct violated the Public Officers Law. Under JCOPE’s rules, no fine or other punishment was imposed.

Wozniak replaced former Assemblymember Dennis Gabryszak, who also was accused of sexual harassment and was required to pay a fine. Several lawsuits against him by former staffers are still pending.

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Credit Eileen Buckley / WBFO News File Photo
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WBFO News File Photo
Marc Panepinto

JCOPE also settled with a former staffer to former State Sen. Mark Panepinto, a Buffalo Democrat. Christopher Savage, in a settlement, admits he tried to dissuade another employee from reporting sexual harassment by Panepinto.

Panepinto pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor related to the conduct in 2018. Savage also will not face a fine or any other penalties for his conduct.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.