Albany has had its fair share of Bill O'Reilly 'scandals'
Bill O’Reilly lost his job at Fox News on Wednesday, just weeks after several allegations of sexual harassment against the top-rated cable TV host were made public. O’Reilly’s popular “The O’Reilly Factor” show had quickly lost support among advertisers, and Fox executives forced O’Reilly out – albeit with a hefty payout, according to reports.
The cable news channel was already reeling from a spate of similar allegations lodged against Roger Ailes, who stepped down as chairman of Fox last year. If it’s any consolation, both men have the support of President Donald Trump, who defended O’Reilly and brought on Ailes as a campaign adviser – although Trump’s own checkered history doesn’t exactly make him the best character witness.
With such salacious scandals dominating the headlines, we took a look back at the state lawmakers who have been accused of sexual harassment – and how their cases played out.
A former girlfriend got a restraining order against the assemblyman in 2003. The Assembly Ethics Committee in 2008 cleared him of harassment allegations by a former staffer. In 2010, a waitress reported that he groped her. The claims continued even after he left Albany in 2014 and moved to Texas – the Times Union reported this week that a Texas woman accused him in 2016 of trying to force her to perform oral sex, but she declined to press charges. Ball has denied wrongdoing.
The Buffalo-area assemblywoman was sanctioned by the Assembly after an investigation concluded that she had a sexual relationship with a male staffer, then retaliated against him after the relationship ended. She declined to run for re-election in 2016.
The assemblyman resigned in 2014 after sending inappropriate videos to his female staffers. In an ironic twist, he was succeeded by Angela Wozniak, who had a scandal of her own. Last year, he was hit with a $100,000 fine by the state Legislative Ethics Commission.
The powerful assemblyman and Brooklyn Democratic Party chairman was brought down by allegations that he groped and harassed young female legislative staffers. He resigned in 2013 and made a failed run for the New York City Council the same year. The state spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on settlements with several young women, although Lopez did not admit guilt. He died in 2015.
The former Assembly speaker came under scrutiny in the Vito Lopez scandal for his decision to authorize secret payments to two women who had accused Lopez of harassment. Silver argued that the settlement prevented him from referring the matter to the Assembly Ethics Committee, but apologized for how things played out.
The Manhattan assemblyman was accused of sexual harassment by a female staffer in 2009 and a male staffer in 2011, and the Assembly Ethics Committee concluded in 2013 that the complaints were valid. Kellner, who unsuccessfully challenged the ruling, declined to run for re-election in 2014. The case was another embarrassment for Silver since an Assembly lawyer had failed to investigate the claims.
The upstate assemblyman was censured by his colleagues in 2007 after he slept over at the home of a 21-year-old female intern following a night of drinking. He lost his re-election bid the following year.
Another sex scandal that plagued Silver was the 2003 conviction of Boxley, the Assembly’s counsel, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor sexual misconduct charge after being charged with raping a young legislative staffer. He avoided prison, and joined an Albany lobbying firm in 2013.
The Rockland County assemblyman resigned in 2006 after allegations that he and three interns watched pornography at his home in Albany.