Five months, 179 interviews and more than 74,000 pieces of evidence later, the New York State Attorney General announcing her office has found Governor Andrew Cuomo guilty of sexual harassment in the workplace.
“The independent investigation has concluded that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, and by doing so violated federal and state law,” Attorney General Letitia James said.
She goes on to say, “the independent investigation found that Governor Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women by engaging in unwanted groping, hugging, kisses and by making inappropriate comments,” she said.
Throughout the independent investigation, requested by Governor Andrew Cuomo in March, Attorney General James and her investigators say they found a disturbing pattern of predatory behavior by the governor, with the most serious allegation coming from a current staff member.
“One current employee, who we identify as Executive Assistant #1 endured repeated physical violations. On November 16, 2020 in the Executive Mansion, the governor hugged Executive Assistant #1 and reached under her blouse to grab her breast,” said special investigator Anne Clark.
Investigators say the Governor’s Office and Executive Chambers perpetuated and normalized this type of behavior.
The report includes the well-documented interactions with the governor by then staffer Charlotte Bennett in 2020. Text messages painted a picture of her abuse in the spring.
“When she confided in the governor that she had been sexually assaulted in college, he asked her for the details of her assault,” Clark said. “When talking about potential girlfriends, he said he could date women as young as 22, knowing she was 25 at the time. He asked her if she had ever been with older men and said he wanted to be touched.”
Bennett was then transferred after reporting these incidents to staff. She wrote the following in a letter to investigators, “I was afraid of what would happen if I rejected him, so I disappeared instead,” she said.
Investigators outline other unwanted sexual behavior including touching women’s butts and stomachs, the governor running his hand across a woman’s chest at an event, talking about age, sex, monogamy and other sexual details. Investigators say he at one point asked a New York State trooper “why she wanted to get married because among other things your sex drive goes down,” Clark said.
Cuomo, not backing down saying repeatedly and even after this report was outlined Tuesday that he has never touched anyone inappropriately.
“I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately. I am 63 years old. I have lived by life in public view—that’s not who I am.”
To the allegations made by Charlotte Bennett, Cuomo says he was “trying to help her.”
“They read into the comments that I made drawing inferences that I never meant,” he said.
The AG says her report has concluded.