“Specifically, the investigation found that Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed current and former New York State employees by engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching and making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive sexual nature, that created a hostile work environment for women.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James found that Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and retaliated against one former employee who complained publicly:
The nearly five-month investigation, conducted by two outside lawyers who spoke to 179 people, found that the Cuomo administration was a “hostile work environment” and that it was “rife with fear and intimidation.”
“Specifically, the investigation found that Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed current and former New York State employees by engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching and making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive sexual nature, that created a hostile work environment for women,” James said at a press conference on Tuesday.
On at least one occasion, the investigation found, Cuomo and his senior staff worked to retaliate against a former employee who accused him of wrongdoing. Cuomo was also found to have harassed women outside of government, the investigation found.
“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,” stated the report.
Overall, James’s office concluded Cuomo’s office was “filled with fear and intimidation, while at the same time normalizing the Governor’s frequent flirtations and gender-based comments.”
That culture within Cuomo’s office “contributed to the conditions that allowed the sexual harassment to occur persis.” It “also influenced the improper and inadequate ways in which the Executive Chamber has responded to allegations of harassment.”
I don’t think we ever knew about the state trooper.
The investigation discovered the incident took place in early November 2017. Officials identified her as Trooper #1:
In early November 2017, the Governor briefly met a New York State Trooper (“Trooper #1”), a woman, at an event on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (the “RFK Bridge,” also known as the Triborough Bridge). After meeting Trooper #1, he spoke with a senior member of his protective detail (“Senior Investigator #1”) about seeking to have Trooper #1 join the Protective Services Unit (“PSU”), the unit of the New York State Police that is in charge of protecting the Governor and works in close vicinity of the Governor. Trooper #1 was then hired into the PSU, despite not meeting the requirement to have at least three years of State Police service to join the PSU. In an email to Trooper #1 shortly after the RFK Bridge event, Senior Investigator #1 noted, attaching a vacancy notice with a two-year service requirement (as opposed to three years), “Ha ha they changed the minimum from 3 years to 2. Just for you.”6
After Trooper #1 joined the PSU, the Governor sexually harassed her on a number of occasions, including by: (1) running his hand across her stomach, from her belly button to her right hip, while she held a door open for him at an event; (2) running his finger down her back, from the top of her neck down her spine to the middle of her back, saying “hey, you,”7 while she was standing in front of him in an elevator; (3) kissing her (and only her) on the cheek in front of another Trooper and asking to kiss her on another occasion, which she deflected; and (4) making sexually suggestive and gender-based comments, including (a) asking her to help him find a girlfriend and describing his criteria for a girlfriend as someone who “[c]an handle pain,”8 (b) asking her why she wanted to get married when marriage means “your sex drive goes down,”9 and (c) asking her why she did not wear a dress. Trooper #1 found these interactions with the Governor not only offensive and uncomfortable, but markedly different from the way the Governor interacted with members of the PSU who were men, and she conveyed these incidents contemporaneously to colleagues. Several other PSU Troopers corroborated Trooper #1’s allegations, including some who had personally witnessed some of the touching and comments as well as the gender-based difference in the way the Governor treated Troopers.
Besides the state trooper, the report detailed incidents with the following:
- Executive Assistant #1
- Charlotte Bennett
- State Entity Employee #1
- Virginia Limmiatis
- Lindsey Boylan
- Alyssa McGrath
- Kaitlin (last name redacted)
- Ana Liss
- State Entity Employee #2
- Anna Ruch
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