Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women in violation of law, AG report finds

Written by on August 3, 2021

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Cuomo: ‘Harassment is just not making somebody really feel uncomfortable’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo responds to questions on whether or not intent issues with regards to sexual harassment; Could 13, 2021.

Courtesy: NYS Governor’s Workplace, New York State Workforce

ALBANY, N.Y. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed a number of ladies in violation of state and federal legal guidelines in addition to the chief chamber’s personal written insurance policies, in keeping with a long-anticipated report Tuesday from the state Lawyer Basic’s Workplace.

The bombshell 136-page report launched by Lawyer Basic Letitia James’s workplace offered corroborated accounts of harassment by the Democratic governor that included undesirable groping, kissing, hugging and inappropriate feedback, together with claims from one govt assistant who says Cuomo reached underneath her shirt and grabbed her breast.

Amongst these Cuomo was discovered to have harassed included a number of members of his workers, a state trooper who was a part of his safety element, an power firm worker and a Division of Well being physician who administered a coronavirus take a look at on him stay on tv final 12 months. 

What we all know: Highlights of AG report in opposition to Andrew Cuomo: 11 ladies harassed, 179 witnesses interviewed

The report additionally contended Cuomo and his senior workers had retaliated in opposition to no less than one former worker, fostered a poisonous office that enabled the harassment and created a hostile work surroundings.

At a Manhattan information convention Tuesday, James mentioned the investigation “revealed conduct that corrodes the very material and character of our state authorities.”

“None of this – none of this – would have been eradicated if not for the heroic ladies who got here ahead,” James mentioned. “I’m impressed by all of the courageous ladies who got here ahead. However extra importantly, I imagine them and I thank them for his or her bravery.”

Cuomo, in a prolonged assertion, responded to the report Tuesday, saying his lawyer has responded to every allegation within the report.

“The info are a lot completely different than what has been portrayed,” he mentioned. “I by no means touched anybody inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.”

Extra: Learn the total report right here

Cuomo investigation led by personal attorneys

The investigation was led by former Performing U.S. Lawyer Joon Kim and Anne Clark, a personal lawyer who makes a speciality of harassment instances.

James chosen the attorneys after Cuomo himself had requested the inquiry in March underneath stress after a number of ladies accused him of harassment.

The investigation centered on claims from 11 ladies, a few of whom had advised their tales within the press and others whose tales got here out for the primary time within the report.

Among the many cases of harassment detailed within the report:

  • Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year-old Cuomo aide, mentioned the governor requested her a number of inappropriate questions, together with whether or not she had ever slept with an older man. Taken collectively, Bennett concluded Cuomo was propositioning her for intercourse. Bennett’s account was corroborated by textual content messages to family and friends members “nearly in actual time,” Clark mentioned.
  • A state trooper advised investigators Cuomo had requested her to search out him a girlfriend whereas she was engaged on the governor’s safety element. She mentioned the governor advised her his standards was somebody who “can deal with ache,” in keeping with the report.
  • An unnamed govt assistant detailed her declare that Cuomo had reached underneath her shirt and grabbed her breast throughout a hug in November 2020 on the govt mansion in Albany, the place Cuomo lives.

The manager assistant, who had advised her story within the Instances Union of Albany, had mentioned she meant to take the incident “to her grave” earlier than she watched Cuomo in a information convention this 12 months deny ever touching anybody inappropriately. 

“Anytime he touched me I felt prefer it was inappropriate,” the lady advised investigators. “He was my boss, not to mention the governor of the state of New York, so I positively felt he abused his energy and positively knew that he had this presence about him, very intimidating, nobody ever advised him that he was flawed nor have been you advised to take action.”

The investigation overseen by James’ workplace was civil in nature and concluded with out taking any stance on whether or not Cuomo must be criminally prosecuted.

The groping accusation had been referred to the Albany Police Division in March by Cuomo’s workplace after the chief assistant made her story identified. On the time, the chief assistant didn’t pursue legal costs herself. For a sexual harassment or assault case to be prosecuted, most prosecutors defer to the desires of the accuser.

A spokesperson for Albany County District Lawyer David Soares couldn’t instantly be reached for remark early Tuesday afternoon.

Cuomo has questioned investigators’ independence

In latest weeks, Cuomo had questioned the independence of the investigators. And his workplace has instructed James, a fellow Democrat, is inquisitive about a run for governor herself, one thing James has not mentioned publicly.

Specifically, Cuomo has taken problem with Kim, who led a number of corruption investigations of the governor and his workers. That features an investigation into the Moreland Fee, an anti-corruption panel that Cuomo abruptly disbanded. That investigation led to no costs in opposition to Cuomo.

The tweets got here as Cuomo’s nationwide profile had risen to heights he had not reached earlier than as his COVID-19 briefings on the peak of the pandemic attracted nationwide consideration.

Cuomo’s habits round ladies was first topic to scrutiny in December, when former aide Lindsey Boylan posted a sequence of cryptic tweets claiming she had been harassed by the governor.

In February, Boylan printed an essay detailing his habits, together with a 2018 assembly wherein she mentioned he kissed her on the lips with out consent as she left.

Boylan was adopted by a number of different ladies who publicly shared comparable tales of a governor who made inappropriate remarks and undesirable advances.

Amongst them was Bennett. In media interviews, Bennett mentioned the governor requested whether or not she practiced monogamy and whether or not she had ever been with an older man. Cuomo remarked that he can be comfy being with a lady in her 20s, she mentioned.

Bennett believed Cuomo was propositioning her for intercourse.

“With out explicitly saying it, he implied to me that I used to be sufficiently old for him and he was lonely,” Bennett, a Westchester County native and Hamilton Faculty graduate, mentioned final week in an interview with “CBS Night Information.”

What the investigation discovered

Eleven ladies’s accounts are included within the report, and 9 of them are or have been employed by New York. That features a state trooper who was part of his safety element, in keeping with the report.

In all, 179 witnesses have been consulted for the investigation, which has concluded and was made public in full Tuesday, James mentioned. Investigators issued 70 subpoenas associated to the paperwork and different info. The ladies’s accounts have been corroborated and substantiated by different witnesses, James mentioned. 

The ladies alleged within the report that Cuomo on a number of events grabbed or groped their breasts; ran and pressed his arms on numerous elements of their our bodies, together with their stomachs, backs and legs; made “sexually suggestive and gender-based” feedback about their look; and requested them about their love lives, in keeping with the report. 

He advised ladies they “appeared nice for (their) age” or requested them what they thought of monogamy, and he advised them they “weren’t prepared” for work in the event that they weren’t dressed properly or carrying make-up, in keeping with the report. 

Cuomo has denied misbehavior

Cuomo has repeatedly denied any misbehavior, saying he by no means touched anybody inappropriately, however he acknowledged that he may be playful and make jokes and generally ask his workers about their private lives.

“I by no means meant to offend anybody or trigger any hurt. I spend most of my life at work and colleagues are sometimes additionally private buddies,” he mentioned in a press release Feb. 28.

On March 3, Cuomo sought to be extra contrite.

“I now perceive that I acted in a manner that made individuals really feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional, and I really and deeply apologize for it,” he mentioned in entrance of cameras on the state Capitol.

However he additionally vowed he had no intention of stepping down, saying, “I’ll do the job the individuals of the state of New York elected me to do.”

Since then, nevertheless, Cuomo has once more taken a extra defiant tone.

On Could 13, Cuomo denied harassing anybody, claiming that “making somebody really feel uncomfortable” does not rise to that stage.

“Harassment is just not making somebody really feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo mentioned. “If I make somebody really feel uncomfortable, that’s not harassment. That’s you feeling uncomfortable.”

Jon Campbell is the New York State Workforce editor for the USA TODAY Community. He may be reached at or on Twitter at @JonCampbellGAN.

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