ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A New York state lawmaker is facing calls to resign from the governor and other fellow Democrats after two women accused him of sexual misconduct in 2015.
Gov. Kathy Hochul and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are among a chorus of state and federal elected officials who say first-term Assemblyman Juan Ardila of Queens in New York City should step down.
The calls came after The Queens Chronicle and other media outlets reported that two women accused him of sexual misconduct during a party in 2015 attended by students and alumni of Fordham University.
One woman said Ardila inappropriately touched her on a couch while she was heavily intoxicated. That woman shared a written account from a second woman who said Ardila exposed himself to her after kissing her in a bathroom.
Ardila said in a statement posted on social media Tuesday that he takes responsibility for his actions and is “committed to a process of accountability.”
“I want the public to know that I am deeply apologetic for my past behavior and acknowledge that my actions have caused great harm,” according to the statement.
A phone message was left at Ardila's district office Friday seeking updated comment.
Ardila said in the prepared statement that he was eager for “restorative justice-centered process” to help repair the damage. A group of his fellow Queens Democrats said in a statement that process cannot go forward while he holds power.
Hochul, asked about Ardila after an event in the city on Thursday, told reporters what he did was “intolerable and unacceptable.”
“I support the survivors in their call for accountability. And yes, he should resign,” she said.
Ardila was elected to the Assembly in November with support from progressive Democrats.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on Wednesday called the allegations serious, but he did not say whether Ardila should resign. He said since Ardila was not in the Assembly in 2015, the alleged incidents were beyond the purview of the chamber’s ethics committee,