Ethics regulators on Thursday announced Democratic former Sen. Marc Panepinto has been fined $10,000 stemming from allegations he sexually harassed a staff member and attempted to cover it up.
The announcement from the Joint Commission on Public Ethics and the Legislative Ethics Commission came two months after Panepinto was sentenced to prison time for his efforts to obstruct the investigation.
Panepinto has previously acknowledged he made unwanted sexual advances toward a woman and then offered her either money or employment in exchange for refusing to cooperate with the commission’s review of the case.
He served one term in the Senate and announced in late 2016 that he wouldn’t seek re-election, citing the health of his since-deceased law partner, but it was later revealed that he was accused of making several unwanted sexual advances toward a female staffer.
The incident took place in New York City hotel room following a fundraiser for his campaign. He admitted to putting his head in the woman’s lap, pulling her feet toward his face and saying they smelled “sexy.”
The Legislative Ethics Commission had referred the case to JCOPE after an internal investigation was conducted.
Paneptino is one of several lawmakers and top staffers in recent years to have been accused of sexual harassment.
The Legislature next Wednesday will hold a public hearing on sexual harassment, a move that had been long sought by survivors and victims of harassment and abuse in Albany.
Panepinto will still need to turn himself in to serve his two-month prison sentence.