Special counsel to look into Dirschberger allegations

Legislature action follows notice of claim against county

March 15, 2018 - 5:44 pm

Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - Erie County legislators Thursday took quick action on a proposal called for by Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw and submitted by legislator Joe Lorigo that will name a special counsel to investigate sexual assault claims against Erie County.  A notice of claim was recently filed against the county stemming from the indictment of former Social Services Commissioner Al Dirschberger on rape charges.   The charges were filed in Albany.

Lawmakers quickly adopted the call for an independent counsel to investigate the claims against the county and will allow for an investigation into procedures that were in place during Dirschberger's tenure with county government.  Mychajliw says, "the counsel will be fair and independent and the county and taxpayers deserve that".  "There is no way the current administration can investigate itself in a fair and impartial manner", said the Comptroller.

Legislator Lorigo says a committee of lawmakers would oversee the process of seeking an independent counsel which should be in place by May. Among other questions to be answered by a counsel, Lorigo is seeking to find out whether the county was negligent in hiring Dirschberger and whether the county was aware of any sexual assault or harassment allegations related to Dirschberger.

"We need to get to the bottom of what happened, when it happened, who knew and whether or not it was ignored", says Lorigo.  Letters were received by the legislature indicating there may have been a history of claims against Dirschberger according to Lorigo.

AUDIO:  Legislator Joe Lorigo



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