New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) on Thursday called on a state assembly member who has been accused of sexual misconduct to resign, saying his behavior was “unacceptable.”
Hochul said at a press conference that she supports the two women who have come forward with allegations against Juan Ardila, a Democratic assemblyman who has served in office since the start of this year.
“I condemn all forms of sexual assault. It is intolerable and unacceptable what he did. I support the survivors in their call for accountability, and yes, he should resign,” Hochul said.
Zack Fink, a state House reporter for Spectrum News NY1, posted the video of Hochul’s comments on Twitter.
Local Queens news outlets first reported that two women accused Ardila on Tuesday of making unwanted sexual advances at a party for Fordham University students and alumni in 2015.
One of the women said Ardila “got handsy” while she was intoxicated and led her down the hallway before a friend intervened. The other woman accused Ardila of pulling her into a bathroom, kissing her and exposing himself.
Gothamist reported that Ardila has said he takes “full responsibility” for his actions and does not make “any excuses” for his behavior but said he did not plan to resign.
“I do understand that those who have experienced harm should determine if this kind of process is one they want to pursue and respect their decisions,” Ardila said. “I believe in second chances and hope to be able to earn one with our community.”
Hochul is joining several other local Queens officials in calling on Ardila to resign.
Democratic officials including Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani, City Council member Julie Won and state Sen. Kristen Gonzalez said in a joint statement that Ardila should step down.
But the calls are not unanimous; Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D) told reporters on Wednesday that Ardila’s behavior was unacceptable but the decision of whether he should resign should be left to him and his constituents, Gothamist reported.
The Hill has reached out to Ardila’s office for comment.