New York officials just dropped damning sexual harassment report on Andrew Cuomo — here’s what we learned

New York officials just dropped damning sexual harassment report on Andrew Cuomo — here’s what we learned

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and retaliated against at least one of them for publicly complaining about his behaviour, according to a report from New York State Attorney General Letitia James.

The report, which is 165 pages long and contains 179 witness testimonies and thousands of documents, also concluded that Cuomo’s office was “filled with fear and intimidation” whilst simultaneously “normalising the Governor’s frequent flirtations and gender-based comments,” ultimately contributing to the toxic environment that allowed the governor’s inappropriate behaviour to continue.

“The independent investigation has concluded that Governor Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, and in doing so, violated federal and state law,” Ms. James said in a press conference. “Specifically, the investigation found that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed current and former New York State employees by engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching, and making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature.”

James added that the report demonstrates “a deeply disturbing, yet clear picture” and “conduct that corrodes the very fabric and character of our state government and shine lights on injustice that can be present at the highest levels of government.”

Cuomo harassed 11 women total, including members of his staff, the public and other state employees. At least one was a state trooper, according to the report.

Since approximately late 2019, the governor allegedly engaged in a pattern of inappropriate conduct with an executive assistant. In November 2020, he “reached under her blouse and grabbed her breast” during a close hug. The victim planned to take the incident “to the grave”, but the altercation left her visibly emotional – “in a way that was visible to her colleagues in the executive chamber.”

In a separate incident, the governor briefly met a New York State Trooper who he sexually assaulted on multiple occasions. He ran his hand “across her stomach, from her belly button to her right hip, while she held a door for him at an event.” He then asked her to help him “find a girlfriend” who “can handle pain.”

The victim said not only were his actions “offensive and uncomfortable”, but she also noted the difference in which the governor interacted with members of the PSU who were men.

The governor then told his aide how “he was “lonely” and “wanted to be touched” and asked her if she had ever been with an older man, among many other things.

The exchanges made her feel so uncomfortable that she reported them to his chief of staff, who moved her to a different position where she would not interact with the Governor.

There was no formal investigation. Instead, “the executive chamber’s senior staff sought to implement a practice whereby individual staff members who were women were not to be left alone with the governor.”

The investigation was conducted by two independent lawyers who were hired by Leticia James: Joon H. Kim, a former federal prosecutor, and Anne L. Clark, an employment lawyer. “Our investigation revealed that these were not isolated incidents,” Kim said of the findings. “They were part of a pattern.”

Cuomo has continually denied the allegations, saying “I never harassed anyone, I never assaulted anyone, I never abused anyone,” in March of this year. “I’m not going to resign.”

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