New York State Lawmaker Censured Over Intern Sleepover

A Republican legislator apologized after he was censured and stripped of his committee leadership position for sleeping overnight on the floor of a female intern's apartment.

Assemblyman Michael Cole, a 35-year-old married father of two, had said he walked the intern home from an sports bar April 16 after watching a Stanley Cup playoff hockey game.

He had said nothing inappropriate occurred and that he spent the night on the apartment floor after he felt he was too drunk to drive.

The 21-year-old intern was fired from the program.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver admonished Cole Thursday.

"I accept full responsibility for violating the intern fraternization policy that Speaker Silver put into place three years ago," Cole said in a statement. "I am truly sorry for putting myself, and more importantly my family, in this situation. It will never happen again."

Cole, who was elected last year, lost the $9,000 annual stipend along with being the ranking minority member on the Assembly's Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. His base salary as a member of the Legislature is $79,500 a year.

The Assembly's anti-fraternization policy was adopted in 2004 after several high-profile cases involving sexual relations and Assembly staffers.

In one of those cases, Silver's former top counsel, Michael Boxley, pleaded guilty to a sexual misconduct charge and been sentenced to six years probation and fined $1,000.