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State Probe Finds Cuomo Sexually Harassed Multiple Women

"No man—no matter how powerful—can be allowed to harass women or violate our human rights laws, period," said New York State Attorney General Letitia James.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. ( Diana Robinson / Flickr)

By Jake Johnson / Common Dreams

New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo “violated multiple state and federal laws” by groping, kissing, and hugging current and former government employees without their consent; making inappropriate sexual comments; creating a toxic work environment; and retaliating against at least one former staffer who went public with her story.

Those are the key findings of a months-long probe by a team of independent investigators appointed earlier this year by New York Attorney General Letitia James after multiple women came forward and accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, prompting calls for his resignation or removal.

In a 168-page report (pdf) released Tuesday, the investigators conclude that Cuomo “engaged in conduct constituting sexual harassment under federal and New York State law.”

The report, based in part on interviews with 179 individuals, continues:

Specifically, we find that the governor sexually harassed a number of current and former New York State employees by, among other things, engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching, as well as making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women.

Our investigation revealed that the governor’s sexually harassing behavior was not limited to members of his own staff, but extended to other state employees, including a State Trooper on his protective detail and members of the public. 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. That culture also influenced the improper and inadequate ways in which the Executive Chamber has responded to allegations of harassment.

The investigators said that 11 women—including nine current or former state employees—accused Cuomo of sexual harassment.

“We found all 11 women to be credible,” Anne Clark, an employment lawyer who helped led the probe, told the New York Times. “There was corroboration to various degrees.”

State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, a Democrat, was among the lawmakers who called for the governor’s immediate resignation on Tuesday:

In a statement announcing the findings, James said she is “grateful to all the women who came forward to tell their stories in painstaking detail, enabling investigators to get to the truth.”

“This is a sad day for New York because independent investigators have concluded that Governor Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and, in doing so, broke the law,” said James. “No man—no matter how powerful—can be allowed to harass women or violate our human rights laws, period.”

During a press conference Tuesday, James called the report “deeply disturbing” and said it reveals “conduct that corrodes the very fabric and character of our state government.”

Cuomo continued to deny the allegations on Tuesday, claiming he has never touched anyone inappropriately.

In response to the investigative team’s findings, the New York-based Working Families Party (WFP) tweeted that “the facts are clear.”

“Andrew Cuomo is unfit to lead,” WFP wrote, “and must resign or be removed from office.”

Zephyr Teachout, a law professor at New York’s Fordham University, echoed that message, declaring, “If Andrew Cuomo doesn’t resign immediately, he should be impeached immediately.”

“New York can’t function and provide the basic services of government with a dishonest, lawbreaking, toxic governor,” Teachout said.

Bridget Todd, director of communications at advocacy group UltraViolet, said New York Democrats who called for the investigation must “take the results seriously.”

“If Cuomo refuses to resign from office, we demand his timely removal by New York legislators,” said Todd. “Anything less is unacceptable and a flagrant disregard for past, present, and future employees and residents of New York State.”

This story has been updated with additional reactions to the report.

10 comments

  1. Cuomo’s obvious arrogance and narcissism are difficult to stomach. His incestuous relationship with the so-called “liberal media” that employs his equally narcissistic brother and their ludicrous, fawning, self-serving “interviews” are even harder to stomach. The idea that Youtube is favoring “authoritative” journalism platforms that have been proven time and time again to be purveyors of propaganda, and censoring excellent independent journalism is absurd. Outside of a handful of actual journalists such as Chris hedges, Ralph Nader, Glenn Greenwald, Matt taibbi, Max Blumenthal & Aaron Mate—all of which are banned from the corporate media, their is no journalism in the US.

  2. Cuomo’s obvious arrogance and narcissism are difficult to stomach. His incestuous relationship with the so-called “liberal media” that employs his equally narcissistic brother and their ludicrous, fawning, self-serving “interviews” are even harder to stomach. The fact that Youtube is favoring “authoritative” news platforms that have been proven time and time again to be purveyors of propaganda and censoring excellent independent journalism is absurd. Outside of a handful of actual journalists such as Chris hedges, Ralph Nader, Glenn Greenwald, Matt taibbi, Max Blumenthal & Aaron Mate—all of which are banned from the corporate media, their is no journalism in the US.

  3. I am concerned with the political ramifications if Cuomo is removed from office. This will strengthen the hand of the Republican Party and may lead to a Republican Governor in the next election. I don’t have to spell out the consequences if that happens.

  4. Some folks have been trying to nail Cuomo for a while. Let’s try this in the press. That should help sell advertising. The AG says he did some bad things. He must be guilty. Don’t bother with an actual trial. Why waste the money. Let’s everybody tell him to quit. I especially love to hear from holier than thou politicians. How many of them are on the take?

    He seems to be doing a decent job as governor. He has been very aggressive on fighting covid. Who would take over? Would they have any idea what is going on?

  5. I am currently retired after a long career in the tech departments of corporate America. In 2000 my employer said that it was illegal for women to touch men and vice versa in the office without prior approval (not in writing!). Yes, that stopped the ways men found to fondle women or suggest fondling; I admit I never saw that behavior. It did stop me from spontaneously touching a male co-worker on the hand in sympathy or congratulations.

    I think what qualifies as sexual harrassment is a slippery slope, and one more clearly evident to the recipient than the initiator. I also think the MeToo phenomenon has given some women license to feel outrage at their treatment by male co-workers and bosses; my own experiences of outrage had nothing to do with sex. In short, I suspect that “sexual harrassment” has been interpreted to extremes. When is asking a co-worker for sex considered to be harrassment? (admittedly an extreme example) When the co-worker is embarrassed or offended?

    If men are going to be publically outed or shamed, then we need a more precise definition of sexual harrassment and HR departments need to step up to communicate this.

    Can clothing be construed as sexual harrassment? Makeup? Fragrance? Ye gods, we’ll be back to prison uniforms and dress codes!

  6. 74,000 pieces of evidence including emails, texts, audio and visual. Seems bleak so go away! But then the problem is the civil cases that will follow so do a Al Franken

  7. At least there is some evidence of the actions, unlike the accusation and threats to Iran by the USA,UK, Israel when the Israeli-led ship Mercer was allegedly attacked.

  8. Regarding Cuomo “getting away” with sexually harassing women – Who does he think he is to get away with this type of behavior — Bill Clinton or Donald Trump ?

  9. The entire system of Government is run by Corruption. Corporate bribes and influence have turned what once was a Republic into a debt slave society where members of congress are owned by those who have given them money. The system is a cancer and must be removed completely, if we want to see any degree of effective change for the betterment of humanity.

  10. This is a hit job on an elected bag man who has lost favor with the elite.

    Progressives seem incapable of understanding crime in any context other than what is written for them in over simplified news stories.

    Sex is an effective disruption against the possibility of critical thinking. Magnifying their lack of information and foundationless empirical beliefs into some kind of retributive righteous fury.

    I can’t imagine the criminogenic elite more pleased.

    9500 people die in nursing homes but that’s no crime.

    60K people dead in NY from covid, poverty, evictions, homelessness and the propaganda ministry wants us to discuss inappropriate touching.

    Progressives will learn. These “crimes” that they so crave punishment and retribution for may come for them in no time at all. They won’t understand it then either and it won’t be anything like what they read on social media.

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