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NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Sexually Harassed Multiple Women Over The Years, Finds Investigation

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Sexually Harassed Multiple Women Over The Years, Finds Investigation

Now Andrew M. Cuomo is facing increasing pressure from Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden, to resign.

Cover image source: Getty | Photo by Mary Altaffer-Pool

With meticulous calculations and shrewd instincts, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo rose through his party's ranks and became the chief executive of New York. The careful handling of his public appearances during the pandemic made him one of the most celebrated national figures. But now his political career faces an existential threat. On Tuesday New York's Attorney General, Letitia James, announced that an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo found that the Democrat had indeed sexually harassed multiple women. 

In a lengthy report of the investigation, James revealed that Cumo had harassed not only his current but also his former state employees, as well as, quite a number of women outside of the state government. The investigation found that the 63-year-old engaged in "unwelcome and nonconsensual touching," made "suggestive" comments that were sexual in nature, and created a "hostile work environment for women," said James according to CNN.



 

 

Meanwhile, Cuomo has denied these sexual harassment allegations against him. "I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances," he explained in a speech the same day as the report. But James said that the governor's behavior, which violated multiple federal and state laws, was not limited to his own staff but also extended to employees in other states. This includes members of the public and a State Trooper on his protective detail.



 

 

"We also conclude that the Executive Chamber's culture -- one filled with fear and intimidation, while at the same time normalizing the Governor's frequent flirtations and gender-based comments -- contributed to the conditions that allowed the sexual harassment to occur and persist," wrote investigators Joon Kim and Anne Clark in the report. "That culture also influenced the improper and inadequate ways in which the Executive Chamber has responded to allegations of harassment." There are 11 women who made harassment claims in the report and investigators found all of them to be credible after corroborating their accounts to varying degrees. 



 

 

One of the unnamed state employees revealed that Cuomo had put his hand on, patted, and then grabbed her buttocks during an event in New York back in September 2019. The very next day, she reported the inappropriate touching via email. Another unnamed executive assistant said that Cuomo touched and grabbed her buttocks which hugging before asking her "multiple times about whether she had cheated or would cheat on her husband, and asking her to help find him a girlfriend." Although she kept the incident to herself initially, she reported the matter to senior staff in the Executive Chamber after Cuomo claimed he "never touched anyone inappropriately" during a March 3 press conference. 

Anna Ruch previously shared an account where she received an unwanted kiss on the cheek from the governor in September 2019 while at a wedding party for one of his senior aides. Photograph's taken by Ruch's friend of Cuomo's conduct were provided to the investigators. The report mentioned former aide Lindsey Boylan who claimed in February that he engaged in inappropriate gestures, including an unwanted kiss. Right after she went public with the allegations, the investigation found that Cuomo and Executive Chamber "actively engaged in an effort to discredit her, including by disseminating to the press confidential internal documents that painted her in a negative light," including a draft of an op-ed disparaging Boylan which was circulated.  to current and former Executive Chamber employees. Although the article was not ultimately published, the report said that the governor "personally participated in drafting" it. 



 

 

"I believe women. And I believe these 11 women," said James. The report further noted that Cuomo made specific denials of conduct made by the women who recalled it clearly. But investigators "found his denials to lack credibility and to be inconsistent with the weight of evidence obtained during our investigation." In the due course of the investigation, officials reviewed 74,000 pieces of evidence and spoke to 179 individuals, and found a "deeply disturbing yet clear picture." While investigators repeatedly described the governor's conduct as "unlawful," a footnote in the note sad that the report did not reach a conclusion "whether the conduct amounts to or should be the subject of criminal prosecution."



 

In a matter of hours since Tuesday's announcement, the governor lost support from most of his allies. Now, he is facing increasing pressure from his party, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Joe Biden, and two US senators of New York, to put in his resignation. If he doesn't resign, the consequence of the Attorney's report will be determined by the State Assembly which has already initiated an impeachment inquiry, according to New York Times. "It is abundantly clear to me that the governor has lost the confidence of the Assembly Democratic majority and that he can no longer remain in office," said Speaker Carl E. Heastie of the situation. 

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