ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — Governor Hochul along with some state lawmakers are calling on Democratic Assembly member Juan Ardila of Queens to resign after accusations of sexual assault. Ardila only took office this past January. “He is offering an apology… However, a lot of times an apology does not necessarily equate to accountability,” said Amanda Rue, a sexual harassment prevention expert.
According to The Queens Chronicle, two women have come forward with allegations stating that Ardila sexually assaulted them at a party in October of 2015. Eight years before he joined the Assembly. The online article also includes Instagram messages where Ardila apologizes to one of his victims in 2018. Rue says this is around the same time the Me-Too Movement was happening. “Every person that was in a position of power, started to reflect back like “Oh, have I made people uncomfortable?’ so he probably had that point of reflection, where it was like ‘Oh, I know that was probably inappropriate and probably a thing that was really unwelcomed’’ she said.
Ardila has since posted a statement to his twitter which reads in part: “I take full responsibility for my actions… I want the public to know that I am deeply apologetic for my past behavior… I believe in second chances and hope to be able to earn one with our community.” When a reporter asked Governor Hochul if Ardila should resign she said, “I condemn all forms of sexual assault. It is intolerable and unacceptable what he did. I support the survivors and their call for accountability and yes, he should resign.”
But not everyone is calling on his resignation. Speaker Carl Heastie says because this did not happen during Ardila’s time in the Assembly, they are limited in their response. “You know the allegations that were made are serious and the behavior that was described was totally unacceptable. But I think you know, that’s a decision Juan and his constituents have to think about,” said Heastie. But Rue disagrees, “Take a step back from the public eye, from the position of power, and really start to look at what actions you can take to really repair and be accountable for this behavior instead of just trying to make an apology and move on.” Additional Senators, Assembly and Council Members have also called on his resignation.