Former Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo was charged on Thursday for sexual misconduct. The criminal complaint says that Cuomo groped one of his aide’s inside the Executive Mansion “for the purposes of degrading and gratifying his sexual desires.”
The misdemeanor complaint is founded on the testimony of one of the many women who have accused Cuomo of sexual misconduct. This accusation and several others were the basis of a state attorney general’s report that caused the former governor to resign from his position in August.
This charge is centered on a situation that occurred in 2020 at Cuomo’s residence at the time, the Executive Mansion, where form aide Brittany Commisso said that the former governor had forcibly touched her breast.
Cuomo is required to attend a court hearing in Albany on November 17 to be arraigned for forcible touching.
Cuomo has repeatedly denied the accusations and attempted to discredit his accusers. He argued that the investigation was politically motivated, but that he would resign so as to not be “unhelpful.”
“I’m a New Yorker, born and bred. I’m a fighter and my instinct is to fight through this controversy because I truly believe it is politically motivated, I believe it is unfair and it is untruthful and I believe it demonizes behavior that is unsustainable for society,” Cuomo said in a statement.
The former governor, son of longtime New York politician Mario Cuomo, maintained that his penchant for showing physical affection was the result of his Italian-American heritage, stating that the sexual harassment allegations against him may have come from differences in “generational or cultural perspectives.”
In his apology, Cuomo expressed regret at making women around him feel uncomfortable, but claimed that it was never his intention to do so:
“I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable.”
He then claimed that he had always kissed people on the cheek, while showing a slideshow of images of himself embracing a variety of people.
The report into sexual harassment that led to Cuomo’s resignation and criminal charges
The report released on August 3 detailed the findings of a months-long investigation conducted by New York Attorney General Laetitia Green.
Green hired two outside investigators, top federal prosecutor Joon H. Kim and employment lawyer Anne E. Clark, to conduct the probe into Cuomo’s conduct while in office.
Within the report, which numbers over 150 pages, Democrat Cuomo’s pattern of sexual harassment is laid bare through numerous allegations made by employees and staff members.
The report concluded that Cuomo broke multiple state and federal laws during his tenure as the governor of New York.
The first accusation of sexual harassment emerged in late February, when a former employee described a series of unwanted advances by the governor, including a kiss in his office, in front of other people.
Cuomo was able to get away with sexually harassing members of staff after cultivating a toxic workplace environment that included intimidation and fear, the report charges.
Investigators pored through emails, text messages, and written accounts from members of staff, and conducted countless interviews with victims and witnesses.