Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, facing escalating calls for his resignation over the handling of the Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal, wasted no time today in organizing a cohesive response to beat back criticism.
"Mistakes were made; I deeply regret them," Silver said.
Assembly Democrats met in conference with Silver for a good portion of the day and a little after 4:30 p.m. emerged to unveil a three-pronged strategy to better handle sexual harassment complaints.
Silver said that his office will no longer handle complaints but instead create an independent body called The Assembly Task Force on Sexual Harassment that will have its own budget to take complaints and investigate them.
Secondly, all elected Assemblymembers and senior staff will be considered "mandatory reporters" of sexual harassment.
Silver said those who fail to report incidents will face "immediate sanction."