An outgoing state assemblyman has been sanctioned for sexually harassing an employee following an investigation conducted by the bipartisan Assembly Ethics Committee.
The inquiry found Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, a Republican, engaged in sexual harassment by asking an employee for nude photos and wasn't truthful when he told the panel's independent investigator that he didn't know who could be levying sexual harassment allegations against him.
McLaughlin also violated a letter from June 2016 directing him not to reveal information regarding the complaint or his accuser. The ethics committee found he shared the accuser's name with another Assembly employee who revealed it to others.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced Wednesday he will implement the sanctions recommended by the ethics panel, including issuing a letter of admonition to McLaughlin that outlines the committee's findings.
McLaughlin is ordered to stop discussing the details of the investigation and revealing his accuser's name. He is also banned from having interns work in his Assembly or district offices.
The lone recommendation Heastie didn't accept is requiring McLaughlin to reimburse the Assembly for sexual harassment training he completed in July. According to a news release, the Assembly "will not seek reimbursement from either members or employees for training regarding unlawful discrimination as it is a priority of the New York State Assembly to maintain a safe work environment for members, employees and interns."
After the recommendations were released, McLaughlin appeared on Fred Dicker's radio and called the investigation a "political witch hunt." He said his attorney wrote a letter to Albany County District Attorney David Soares accusing the ethics panel of "civil rights violations."
The findings against McLaughlin come as he is in his final days as a state lawmaker. He was elected Rensselaer County executive on Nov. 7. He narrowly defeated Democratic challenger Andrea Smyth.