(The Center Square) – A special independent investigation found that Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Tuesday.
The report detailed 11 complaints from women. Complainants included current and former staff members, including a state trooper who worked on his security detail. They detailed incidents of both inappropriate touching – including groping – and unwanted conversations of a sexual nature.
“I am grateful to all the women who came forward to tell their stories in painstaking detail, enabling investigators to get to the truth,” James said in a statement. “No man – no matter how powerful – can be allowed to harass women or violate our human rights laws, period.”
In addition to the harassment, the investigators found a “toxic” environment existed in the Executive Chamber, and that violations of laws and policies went beyond just Cuomo in the administration.
The report comes out just more than five months after Cuomo referred the case to James’ office.
The third-term Democrat first faced accusations late last year when former aide Lindsey Boylan wrote on Twitter that Cuomo had harassed her “for years.”
“Yes, @NYGovCuomo sexually harassed me for years,” she wrote. “Many saw it, and watched. I could never anticipate what to expect: would I be grilled on my work (which was very good) or harassed about my looks. Or would it be both in the same conversation? This was the way for years.”
Boylan followed that up in February with a first-person account on the website Medium.
“I’m compelled to tell my story because no woman should feel forced to hide their experiences of workplace intimidation, harassment and humiliation – not by the Governor or anyone else,” she wrote.
That led to a host of new allegations, both from within and outside the administration. One woman shared a photo that showed Cuomo at a wedding reception cupping her face. She said the governor had asked to kiss her and ignored her attempts to get him to stop touching her.
Despite calls from a number of prominent Democrats that he step down, including Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Cuomo has refused to resign, insisting that his accusers have simply misunderstood his friendly manner and that he never intended for anyone to feel uncomfortable.
Cuomo’s staff has suggested that James launched the probe in a bid to boost her as-yet unannounced candidacy for governor next year; James has not indicated one way or another publicly whether she might run.