ALBANY, N.Y. — An investigation into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo found that he sexually harassed multiple current and former state government employees, State Attorney General Letitia James said Tuesday.
Her investigation began several months after Cuomo first faced accusations of harassment:
Dec. 13, 2020
Lindsey Boylan, a former aide to Cuomo, accused the governor of sexual harassment in a Twitter thread. Boylan tweeted that she was sexually harassed by Cuomo “for years.” At the time, Cuomo’s press secretary Caitlin Girouard said there was “simply no truth to these claims.”
Boylan published additional details regarding alleged sexual harassment by Cuomo, including a forced kiss. The governor, as he did in December, said he respects the rights of women to come forward, but flatly denied Boylan’s allegations.
A second former staffer, Charlotte Bennett, came forward and accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. Bennett said the governor asked her invasive questions about her personal and sexual life.
Cuomo issued a flurry of statements, at first attempting to select an attorney to conduct a review of his actions, as well as an apology that was widely criticized. The governor then agreed to allow the state attorney general to hire an independent law firm to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct.
The Office of the Governor formally transmitted a letter to the Office of the Attorney General authorizing an investigation, cooperation of state employees and a public report.
On the same day, a third accuser came forward to the New York Times. Anna Ruch accused Cuomo of inappropriate behavior at a wedding. Unlike Boylan and Bennett, Ruch was not an employee of Cuomo’s at the time the alleged harassment occurred. Her account of aggressive behavior was supported by witnesses, contemporaneous text messages and a picture.
Cuomo faced calls for his resignation over the accusations against him. Six New York City-based Democratic lawmaker said he should step down from office.
Gov. Cuomo apologized for acting in ways that made people uncomfortable.
“I never touched anyone inappropriately,” he said. “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable. And I certainly never ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain.”
A PIX11 poll found a growing number of New Yorkers believed the allegations against Cuomo.
New York legislative leaders voted to modify Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s emergency COVID-19 powers Friday amid the ongoing investigations into whether his administration covered nursing home deaths, as well as multiple sexual harassment allegations.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said a legal team would probe sexual misconduct claims against Cuomo.
Six women had come forward by this point with allegations against Cuomo. The fourth accuser, Ana Liss, said the governor “asked her if she had a boyfriend, called her sweetheart, touched her on her lower back at a reception and once kissed her hand when she rose from her desk.”
The fifth accuser, Karen Hinton, said Cuomo hugged her in an “inappropriate” and “unethical” embrace in a California hotel room 21 years ago.
The sixth accuser’s identity was withheld.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called on Cuomo to step down after a former aide to the governor reportedly accused him of groping her.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie authorized the Assembly Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment investigation, led by Chair Charles Lavine.
Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand put out a joint statement calling for Cuomo’s resignation.
“Confronting and overcoming the COVID crisis requires sure and steady leadership,” they said. “We commend the brave actions of the individuals who have come forward with serious allegations of abuse and misconduct. Due to the multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, it is clear that Gov. Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York.
President Joe Biden said Cuomo should resign if the allegations against him were proven.
“I think he’ll probably end up being prosecuted, too,” Biden said at the time.
Another woman came forward with allegations of inappropriate behavior from Cuomo. Sherry Vill, a married mother and grandmother, said the governor forcibly grabbed her by the face and kissed her on the cheek two separate times during the same visit while touring flood damage at her upstate New York home in May 2017.
Cuomo questioned the integrity of the attorneys who were hired to look sexual harassment accusations against him.
A criminal investigation was launched into the sexual harassment, Albany County District Attorney David Soares said.