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Sexual-harassment victims tell horrific stories about NY’s Capitol in first hearing in 20 years

Chloe Rivera was 24 when she was hired as a legislative aide for then-Assemblyman Vito Lopez, the powerful Brooklyn lawmaker and Democratic boss.

He would make inappropriate comments about her body and clothes, she testified Wednesday. He would tell her to rub his hands as he drove, implored her to wear more revealing clothes and asked her to send him fawning messages.

“I was stuck in what felt like an endless cycle of harassment,” she described.

Rivera was among a series of former aides at the state Capitol who detailed sexual harassment by ex-lawmakers and the failure by state government to address their complaints at a hearing Wednesday.

Their testimony was the first time in more than two decades that state lawmakers heard directly from victims of sexual harassment in Albany, even after the Legislature passed laws in recent years seeking to crack down on workplace harassment.

The hearing was aimed at finding out what other laws the Legislature should adopt to address sexual harassment in workplaces across New York.

“Our goal in looking at any specific cases is to understand how the process should be improved to ensure that all allegations are handled properly from now on,” said Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, D-Pelham, Westchester County, chair of the Senate Ethics Committee.

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