Caitrin Kennedy, the fourth female aide who is alleging sexual harassment by Assemblyman Dennis H. Gabryszak, is anxious to come forward with her story, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.
Diana Cihak, who identified herself as a friend and media representative for Kennedy, joined Kennedy’s lawyer, Prathima Reddy, at a news conference Tuesday to announce that the 24-year-old aide has filed a notice of intent to file a claim against the state lawmaker.
“It’s important to Cait that she tell this story – and she is going to bring it out in the future – but at this point in the process, it’s more important that legal process work and that the [state] ethics commission do their work,” Cihak said.
Kennedy, who has been employed as Gabryszak’s community relations director since late September, did not appear at Tuesday’s news conference, which was held at the U.S. Postal Service office at 725 Hertel Ave.
Three other women who had worked on Gabryszak’s staff came forward last week with allegations of sexual harassment against the assemblyman. Prior to that, Cihak said, Kennedy had been unaware that the other women were filing a claim.
Cihak said that Kennedy was, at first, subject to mild sexual harassment, but in the past two weeks, the behavior had become “much more frequent and much more severe.” Kennedy, Cihak said, was already exploring her options about what she could do to pursue a claim or to bring about legal action.
“Then, all of a sudden, she found out that these women had filed a suit, and so she, at that time, she said ‘I need to support these other women. This is happening to me, as well.’ ” Cihak said.
Reddy, Kennedy’s lawyer, said her client has experienced “extensive mental anguish” as a result of Gabryszak’s conduct, which is outlined in Kennedy’s claim and described Tuesday by Reddy as having developed into a pattern and a persistent problem for her client.
“As you can see from the allegations, there are various instances of sexual harassment,” Reddy said.
“I can assure you that she’s going to pursue her legal remedies to the fullest extent of the law,” she said.
“I met with Cait today, and we’ve discussed her allegations. This is the initial stage. We have yet to learn the specific details of her experience. We have yet to know exactly what her legal allegations will be at this time. We’ve only put the state on notice of our intention to pursue claims,” Reddy added.
Among the alleged instances of harassment, Reddy said, Kennedy was asked to take part in sexually inappropriate pictures and be photographed in that manner.
“She found that to be very offensive,” said Reddy.
The notice of intention to file a claim against Gabryszak also names the Assembly and the state.
“My client and I will be discussing our legal remedies and strategize accordingly,” Reddy said.