Assemblyman Juan Ardila of Queens issues apology for allegations of making unwelcome sexual advances

Two women accused a Democratic Assembly member, Juan Ardila, who represents Maspeth and Sunnyside in Queens, of making unwanted sexual advances towards them almost a decade ago at a party.

Although Ardila apologized for his actions in a statement to the Queens Chronicle, he received criticism from other elected officials despite the apology.

“I apologize for my behavior,” he said in a statement to the Chronicle, which first reported the allegations Monday afternoon. “I have spent time reflecting and I hope to prove I have matured since college. I’m committed to learning from this and I am able to demonstrate my own personal growth.”

An anonymous woman, who spoke to the Queens Chronicle and Queens Eagle, accused Assembly member Juan Ardila of groping her at a party in October 2015. The woman also relayed written allegations from a second woman who claimed that Ardila had pulled her into a bathroom, kissed her, and exposed himself to her when she pulled away.

One of Ardila’s accusers stated that she was a Fordham University student at the time of the alleged incident, whereas Ardila was working for then-Councilman Brad Lander as an “office manager/scheduler.”

Lander, who currently serves as the city’s comptroller, did not respond to messages. Ardila, who has served as a state lawmaker since January, faced swift political backlash following the allegations, with City Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens), whom Ardila ran against for City Council two years ago, calling for Ardila’s resignation and urging his past supporters to rescind their endorsements.

“Juan Ardila’s record of racism, xenophobia, homophobia, antisemitism, reckless driving, and now sexual assault has disqualified him from office,” Holden said in a written statement.

“His actions are reprehensible and unacceptable, and they should be disavowed at all costs by elected officials, like Donovan Richards, unions, and other groups. Sexual assault must never be tolerated,” Holden’s statement said.

Along with his remarks, Holden included a list of people and entities who’ve endorsed Ardila and said that “all those who supported him and knew about these issues, have fallen far short of those standards.”

Queens Borough President Richards, who was previously a member of the City Council, expressed deep concern over the accusations against Ardila and called for a comprehensive investigation to be conducted.

“If these disturbing accusations against him are found to be true, Assemblymember Ardila should resign,” Richards said in a written statement.

The Queens borough president, who had recently urged Councilman Holden to withdraw his endorsement of Rep. George Santos, responded to Holden’s criticism by pointing out that Holden had not retracted his support for the congressman who has a history of lying.

“Trust in government cannot be possible, however, without accountability from all who have been elected to lead our communities,” Richards said. “Unfortunately, it is clear that Councilmember Holden — who has refused to rescind his support of Rep. George Santos, even after the serial liar had been accused of sexual misconduct — does not share that same belief.”