Monday, September 26, 2016
Democrats: A City Council candidate who used to work for Mayor Bill de Blasio hired a registered sex offender — who is also a convicted crack dealer— to go door to door for her to collect the signatures she needs to run for office
A City Council candidate who used to work for Mayor Bill de Blasio hired a registered sex offender — who is also a convicted crack dealer— to go door to door for her to collect the signatures she needs to run for office, The Post has learned.
Records show Richard Torres pleaded guilty in 2005 to committing a lewd act on a child in South Carolina — but that didn’t stop Rebecca Lynch from tapping him this June to visit the homes of unsuspecting Queens families to gather names for ballot petitions.
“I like the things that she stands for. That’s the reason I got on the campaign,” said Torres, 41, who spent five years in prison for the crime.
Torres said he collected signatures not for money, but because Lynch supported a “ban the box” law to forbid employers from questioning job applicants about their criminal records.
And it’s no wonder — he was also convicted in 1997 of possession with intent to distribute crack, records show.
Torres described himself as a volunteer for Lynch’s campaign — even though state records show it paid him $660.
“People that work for her” didn’t ask him about his criminal past, he noted. And he didn’t bother to volunteer any details, he admitted.
Despite pleading guilty to the sex charge, Torres maintained his innocence when questioned last week by The Post, saying he took a deal only to avoid a more serious charge that carried a 30-year sentence.
“My wife set me up,” he said. “She said that I did something to her son. She took him to the hospital, and all the records came back negative.”
The youngster was 6 years old at the time, New York state records show.
Lynch, 27, a registered lobbyist for the Teamsters union who is backed by the Working Families Party, began working in de Blasio’s community-affairs unit in early 2014 and left last month.
She is one of four Democrats running for the Queens council seat vacated by Mark Weprin.
It appears Torres’ pavement-pounding helped Lynch’s campaign — she has secured over 1,860 signatures, according to a spokeswoman, easily surpassing the minimum 450 needed to be on the ballot for the September primary.
Lynch’s campaign distanced itself from Torres.
“Obviously, we are horrified,” said spokeswoman Sally Frank. “He hasn’t worked for us in weeks, and neither has the person who hired him.”
Last month, de Blasio and the City Council enacted a “ban the box” law, a move that Working Families Party leader Bill Lipton cheered as advancing the council’s “already impressive record of fighting for working families.”
Additional reporting by Matthew Abrahams