Governor Andrew Cuomo stepped down as New York City Governor after a five-month long investigation into sexual harassment allegations against him. Eleven women reportedly accused Cuomo of acting inappropriately and making their work environment a “toxic” place. According to Cuomo, the women misinterpreted his actions and words and insisted he was only trying to put forth a “warm energy” towards the women.
According to investigators, his warm actions were kissing the women without their consent, groping their breasts and/or buttocks, and making crude comments about their personal lives. Although Cuomo had claimed that he never touched these women in the ways stated, he did apologize for making comments that would be deemed inappropriate and uncomfortable. He blamed the way he acted on his cultural upbringing.
“I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,” said Cuomo in a video statement. “I am 63 years old. I’ve lived my entire adult life in public view. That is just not who I am. And that’s not who I have ever been.”
While apologizing for his actions and stepping down, Cuomo may be facing criminal charges. Prosecutors across the state are moving to investigate him further. The initial investigation led by the Attorney General and two lawyers corroborated the women’s claims and found even more evidence.
Joon Kim, former federal prosecutor and acting U.S. attorney, and Anne Clark an employment lawyer with sexual harassment case experience. Kim found Cuomo’s office space was rife with bullying and anyone who tried to cross him would be at risk of being fired.
The lawyers’ report found Cuomo’s Italian American background was not a valid excuse for his crude actions towards the women. “What these witnesses – and many others – described is not just old-fashioned, affectionate behavior – it was sexual harassment,” the report concluded.
While Cuomo tried to hang on to his spot in office for as long as he could, the sexual assault allegations were only the beginning. The entire New York State Democratic establishment deserted Cuomo after news of his team’s efforts to conceal a report of thousands of COVID-related deaths in nursing homes.
After his two week transition period, lieutenant investigator Kathy Hochul will take over as New York State Governor. She will reportedly be the first women governor of the Empire State.