Sat | Oct 23, 2021

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed several women, probe finds

Published:Tuesday | August 3, 2021 | 11:22 AM
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at New York's Yankee Stadium, Monday, July 26, 2021. Investigators conducting an inquiry into sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo questioned him for eleven hours when he met with them last month, The New York Times reported Monday, August 2. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — An investigation found that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed several women inside and outside state government and worked to retaliate against one of his accusers, New York's attorney general announced Tuesday in a finding that is certain to renew calls for the Democrat's resignation or impeachment.

The nearly five-month investigation, conducted by two outside lawyers who spoke to 179 people, found that the Cuomo administration was a “hostile work environment” and that it was “rife with fear and intimidation.”

People interviewed included complainants, current and former members of the executive chamber, State troopers, additional state employees and others who interacted regularly with the governor.

“These interviews and pieces of evidence revealed a deeply disturbing yet clear picture: Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employees in violation of federal and state laws,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said at a press conference on Tuesday.

James said her investigation has concluded.

There were no referrals to criminal prosecutors, though that wouldn't preclude local authorities from using the evidence and findings of the report to mount their own cases.

On at least one occasion, the investigation found, Cuomo and his senior staff worked to retaliate against a former employee who accused him of wrongdoing. Cuomo was also found to have harassed women outside of government, the investigation found.

The report also detailed, for the first time, allegations that Cuomo sexually harassed a female state trooper on his security detail.

It said that the governor ran his hand or fingers across her stomach and her back, kissed her on the cheek, asked for her help in finding a girlfriend, and asked why she didn't wear a dress.

“These brave women stepped forward to speak truth to power and, in doing so, they expressed faith in the belief that although the governor may be powerful, the truth is even more so,” Joon Kim, one of the lawyers leading the investigation, said at the press conference.

Investigators said they found all 11 women were credible, noting that their allegations were corroborated to varying degrees, including by other witnesses and contemporaneous text messages.

Cuomo faced multiple allegations last winter that he inappropriately touched and sexually harassed women who worked with him or who he met at public events.

One aide in his office said he groped her breast.

The attorney general's report is expected to play an important role in an ongoing inquiry in the state Assembly into whether there are grounds for Cuomo to be impeached.

The Assembly hired its own legal team to investigate Cuomo's conduct, plus other allegations of wrongdoing. 

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