New York State Attorney General Leticia James announced allegations that Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) sexually harassed several women are true on Aug. 3.
“We, the investigators appointed to conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, conclude that the governor engaged in conduct constituting sexual harassment under federal and New York state law,” James’s report said.
The 168-page investigation findings include testimonies from 11 victims of Cuomo’s alleged harassment, from which nine are state employees. The attorney general hired two experienced attorneys outside of the prosecution’s office.
The women, mostly in their 20s and 30s, described the governor’s behavior as abusive and predatory. The Democrat would inappropriately touch them while posing for photos and repeatedly enquire if the women would consider cheating on their spouses with an “older man.”
“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 non consensual touching,” the report said. “[He also made] numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women.”
One victim, a female state police officer, complained Cuomo once changed her selection criteria to require her to serve as his personal security detail.
The officer recalled one occasion she held the door open for Cuomo to enter an event. The governor allegedly slid his finger down the middle of her back, from from her neck down to her waist.
“Hey, you,” he said.
The governor has since apologized for acting in a way that “made people feel uncomfortable.” However, he vigorously denies “touching anyone inappropriately” or other misconduct.
Coworkers facilitate hostile environment
Executive chamber employees allegedly turned a blind eye to unwanted flirting and sexually charged comments due to fear and intimidation. This allowed the unacceptable work environment and culture to continue.
“It was extremely toxic, extremely abusive,” former aide Charlotte Bennett said in the report. “If you got yelled at in front of everyone, it was not any special day … [and] it was controlled largely by his temper, and he was surrounded by people who enabled his behavior.”
The report also uncovered evidence showing the governor’s office retaliated against victims who complained. Cuomo circulated personal information about Bennett and former special adviser Lindsey Boylan in a bid to discredit their complaints.
More unanswered allegations
Although the attorney general’s investigation found the governor guilty of sexual harassment, Cuomo still has not been judged for his alleged role in the nursing home tragedy that killed more than 15,000 people.
At the 2020 peak of the pandemic, New York recorded more than 30,000 deaths. From these deaths, approximately half occurred in nursing homes.
Acting on an order from the governor’s office, elderly people infected with COVID were sent to nursing homes to recover. This allegedly resulted in the virus spreading more rapidly across an extremely frail population.
Relatives of the elderly who died accuse mainstream media and politicians of focusing too much on Cuomo’s sex scandal. They also censored information about the nursing home deaths.
“They have totally ignored what he has done involving the nursing home scandal, his cover-up, his disregard for their attempts to have hearings,” said Grace Colucci, whose 89-year-old father John Daly died last spring from COVID, according to Fox News.
Vivian Zayas, whose mother Ana Martinez–78–died, feels as though she was “overshadowed.”
“Sexual harassment claims are very important but, when we compare that to 15,000 lives lost, not able to be returned to their families–that should not be overlooked,” she said according to the broadcaster.
A governor’s office representative openly admitted to reporting about 50 per cent fewer deaths in nursing homes out of fear the Department of Justice would use that information against then President Donald Trump.