New York Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation into sexual harassment claims against Gov. Andrew Cuomo has found he sexually harassed multiple women.
James’ office, which interviewed the governor for more than 11 hours last month, found in its investigation Cuomo harassed 11 former and current state employees as well as a host of women who work outside the government. The investigation also found Cuomo and his team retaliated against a former employee who came forward.
BREAKING: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo found to have sexually harassed multiple women, the New York state attorney general says after a four-month probe. https://t.co/B5Q4o4CR96 pic.twitter.com/UTyKcq2Zbw
— ABC News (@ABC) August 3, 2021
“Gov. Cuomo sexually harassed several women,” James said Tuesday at a news conference, adding Cuomo violated state and federal law. “This investigation has revealed conduct that corrodes the very fabric and character of our state government and shines light on injustice that can be present at the highest level of government.”
James did not announce any charges against the governor, saying the women could file civil suits or that local law enforcement agencies could review their findings.
In their report, investigators detailed in graphic terms the incidents of harassment they faced from Cuomo, including sexual comments he made and times he touched them inappropriately. One staff member said Cuomo kissed her on the lips without her consent at least once, grabbed her butt during hugs, and reached under her blouse, grabbed her breast, and asked her if she had or would cheat on her husband.
Cuomo, denied touching anyone inappropriately and has refused to resign, saying in a statement in February that some of his workplace remarks “may have been insensitive or too personal.” Cuomo added he was “truly sorry” to those who might have “misinterpreted (the remarks) as an unwanted flirtation.”
The allegations against Cuomo began earlier this year when Charlotte Bennett said the governor asked her uncomfortable questions about her sex life during a June 2020 conversation. A second former aide, Lindsey Boylan, told the New York Times about several uncomfortable interactions with Cuomo including an unsolicited kiss and an invitation to play strip poker on a government airplane.
When these allegations came out the governor was also dealing with backlash from hiding nursing home deaths related to the coronavirus pandemic. In response to the two scandals, New York’s Democratic legislature revoked some of Cuomo’s emergency powers and began an impeachment probe.