New York’s governor was once celebrated in the corona pandemic. Now an investigation report shows that Andrew Cuomo allegedly molested women. The responsible public prosecutor speaks of a “disturbing picture”.
Unwanted kisses and touches, inappropriate comments and a “hostile work atmosphere” with a “climate of fear”: According to an investigation, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is said to have sexually molested several women.
“We note that the governor has sexually molested a number of past and current employees of the state, including inadvertently touching them, and making abusive, sexually suggestive comments that have created a hostile working atmosphere for women,” said a 168-page report published Tuesday in New York by Attorney General Letitia James.
“Climate of Fear”
For the investigation, 179 witnesses were spoken to and around 7,400 pieces of evidence were viewed, James said at a press conference. This resulted in “a very disturbing but clear picture” of a “disturbing behavior pattern” on the part of the governor. Among other things, there were unwanted touches, kisses, hugs and inappropriate comments.
In addition, Cuomo created a “hostile working atmosphere” and a “climate of fear” for women. The allegations come mainly from eleven women. “I believe these women and I thank them for their courage,” said James.
Your work was thus completed, said the attorney general. “The report speaks for itself.” It was a civil investigation that would not automatically result in criminal consequences – even if these could arise separately on the basis of the published evidence. “The next steps are with the governor, parliament and the public.”
Cuomo refused to resign
The 63-year-old had previously apologized for possible “misinterpretations” of his behavior and has now again rejected all allegations. “I want you to hear directly from me that I have never touched anyone inappropriately or approached someone inappropriately,” said Cuomo on Tuesday via video message. “It’s just not who I am or who I have ever been.” Cuomo did not address a possible resignation in the video message.
Members of their own Democratic Party also called for this after several women publicly accused Cuomo of sexual harassment earlier this year. The allegations are reminiscent of cases of sexual harassment in the wake of #MeToo, a movement that Cuomo once publicly extolled.
Attorney General James opened an investigation in March. US President Joe Biden had announced through his spokeswoman that he supported the investigation. Cuomo had agreed to work with the investigators and, according to media reports, had been questioned for hours by the investigators.
Press conferences with cult status
In the corona pandemic, Cuomo had initially become the Democratic Party’s bearer of hope. He presented himself as an alternative to the then Republican President Donald Trump. Almost every day, he provided clear information and PowerPoint presentations about the development of the infection process in his state and the measures to be taken against it.
The press conferences achieved cult status, were followed live by millions of people around the world – and the governor was even awarded an Emmy, the most important television award in the USA, for this. The divorced father of three adult daughters, whose father Mario was governor of New York between 1983 and 1994, has been in office since 2011 – and was re-elected for a third term in 2019.
In addition to the allegations of sexual harassment, Cuomo threatens even more trouble: Due to the numbers of deaths in nursing homes in connection with the pandemic, the governor was suspected of having concealed the true extent of the drama. He is also said to have aggressively attacked political critics and tried to intimidate them.