“Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and in doing so violated federal and state law,” James told reporters on Tuesday.
The harassment included “unwelcome and nonconsensual touching,” the report found, in addition to comments “of a suggestive and sexual nature.”
Investigators say that Cuomo harassed not only his own staff members, but other government employees including a State Trooper on his protective detail.
The probe comes after a meteoric downfall for Cuomo, who briefly enjoyed a moment of unparalleled popularity at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
That was quickly dispelled by dual scandals over his handling of the virus and allegations of sexual harassment. On the virus, reporters found that an order he issued forcing nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients being discharged from hospitals contributed to the spread of the virus among the state’s most vulnerable; on the harassment scandal, Attorney General James ordered an investigations whose results were released on Tuesday.
The report identifies eleven women that Cuomo harassed. In the case of the State Trooper, Cuomo allegedly had her transferred onto his protective detail after meeting her at an event on the Triborough Bridge in New York City.
Investigators found that Cuomo ran his hands across the trooper’s body in several occasions, and also asked her to find him a girlfriend, telling the trooper that he needed someone who could “handle pain.”
In the case of an unnamed executive assistant, Cuomo allegedly groped the woman multiple times, and kept asking her “whether she had cheated or would cheat on her husband.”
The woman had initially planned on keeping the alleged harassment secret “to the grave,” but decided to speak after seeing the Governor say at a March 2021 press conference that he had never “touched anyone inappropriately.”
The report documents the results of an interview that Cuomo gave to investigators.
He denied the allegations of impropriety, saying that the executive assistant initiated physical contact, for example, and that he was “more in the reciprocal business.”
The report says that investigators found his responses “contrived.”
“The Governor’s blanket denials and lack of recollection as to specific incidents stood in stark contrast to the strength, specificity, and corroboration of the complainants’ recollections, as well as the reports of many other individuals who offered observations and experiences of the Governor’s conduct,” the report reads.
The interview with Cuomo reportedly lasted 11 hours when it took place at a midtown Manhattan office on July 17.
Cuomo, the New York Times reported, lashed out at the interviewer during the session, accusing a private attorney deputized by James of bias.
The report also focuses on allegations made by Lindsey Boylan, a former Cuomo staffer and 2020 Democratic primary challenger to Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY).
Boylan was the first to blow the whistle on alleged harassment by Cuomo; investigators found that he took steps to respond which constituted “unlawful retaliation.”
That included distributing to reporters confidential complaints against Boylan from her time as an aide to Cuomo, and an op-ed that the Governor planned to publish “that contained personal and professional attacks on Ms. Boylan.”
“Many who reviewed it found that it constituted victim shaming that they found inadvisable,” the report notes.
James’ team found that Cuomo’s conduct had gone on with impunity largely because he created an atmosphere where speaking out against him would be very, very difficult. The report described it as “a culture within the Executive Chamber of secrecy, loyalty to the Governor, and fear, as well as the normalization of inappropriate comments and interactions by the Governor.”
The report recounts a message that one female senior staffer left to herself about Cuomo’s response to the inquiry.
“I’m disgusted that Andrew Cuomo—a man who understands subtle power dynamics and power plays better than almost anyone in the planet—is giving this loopy excuse of not knowing he made women feel uncomfortable,” the message reads. “Either he knew exactly what he was doing (likely) or he is so narcissistic that he thought all women wanted these kinds of questions (crazy excuse even to write it).”
Read the report here: