A months-long independent investigation found New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women, including current and former state employees, according to a bombshell report detailed by New York State Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday.
The report detailed interviews with women who “made allegations, publicly or otherwise, of sex-based harassment or other related misconduct by Governor Cuomo.” Employment lawyer Anne Clark, one of two attorneys tapped to lead the investigation overseen by James’ office, said investigators “found all 11 women to be credible” and identified evidence that corroborated their accounts.
“These interviews and pieces of evidence revealed a deeply disturbing yet clear picture: Gov. Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employees in violation of federal and state laws,” James said at a press conference.
CUOMO SEXUALLY HARASSED MULTIPLE WOMEN IN VIOLATION OF STATE AND FEDERAL LAW, NY AG FINDS
The report’s findings, based on interviews with 179 people, sparked renewed bipartisan calls for Cuomo to resign from office. Cuomo remained defiant in an afternoon video address, stating that he “never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.”
Fox News is detailing the allegations from the 11 women named in the report below.
Executive Assistant #1
The report did not name the woman, who “works in the Executive Chamber and has provided administrative assistance to various members of the Executive Chamber.” Investigators found that Cuomo’s inquiries into the woman’s dating life “escalated to more intimate physical contact,” including unwanted touching and groping.
“Over time, the Governor’s behavior toward Executive Assistant #1 escalated to more intimate physical contact, including regular hugs and kisses on the cheek (and at least one kiss on the lips), culminating in incidents where the Governor grabbed Executive Assistant #1’s butt while they took a selfie in the Executive Mansion, and where the Governor, during a hug, reached under Executive Assistant #1’s blouse and grabbed her breast,” the report said.
The unnamed state trooper said she initially met Cuomo at an event on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge in November 2017. Investigators said Cuomo pushed for the trooper to join his Protective Services Unit despite lacking the requisite three years of experience.
The report said “the Governor sexually harassed her on a number of occasions” after she joined the PSU, including multiple instances of unwanted touching or kissing. Specific claims included instances of Cuomo “asking her to help him find a girlfriend and describing his criteria for a girlfriend as someone who “can handle pain,” (b) asking her why she wanted to get married when marriage means “your sex drive goes down,” the report said.
A former aide to Cuomo, Bennett detailed multiple conversations in 2020 in which the governor made inappropriate remarks. The claims included instances in which Cuomo asked her if she had ever been with an older man and telling her during the pandemic that he was “lonely” and “wanted to be touched.”
“These comments by the Governor—as evidenced contemporaneously in numerous text exchanges Ms. Bennett had with others—followed and coincided with discussions she previously had with the Governor about her having been a survivor of sexual assault and made her extremely uncomfortable,” the report said.
During an appearance on CBS Evening News on Tuesday, Bennett slammed Cuomo for his defiant video address following the report’s release.
“He is normalizing not only victim-blaming, but sexual harassment,” Bennett said. “He is saying that women come forward with their stories and we don’t need to take it seriously. It’s simply a circus act at this point.”
State Entity Employee #1
Investigators found that Cuomo groped the unnamed woman while posing for a photo during an event in New York City in September 2019.
“While the picture was being taken, the Governor put his hand on State Entity Employee #1’s butt, tapped it twice, and then grabbed her butt. State Entity Employee #1 was “shocked” at the time, and discussed it with a number of friends, family, and co-workers,” the report said.
The incident involving Limmiatis occurred while she attended a conservation event in upstate New York on behalf of her employer, an unnamed energy company. During the event, Limmiatis waited online to meet with Cuomo while wearing a shirt that displayed the company’s name.
“When the Governor reached Ms. Limmiatis, he ran two fingers across her chest, pressing down on each of the letters as he did so and reading out the name of the Energy Company as he went. The Governor then leaned in, with his face close to Ms. Limmiatis’s cheek, and said, ‘I’m going to say I see a spider on your shoulder,’ before brushing his hand in the area between her shoulder and breasts (and below her collarbone),” the report said.
Boylan, a former Chief of Staff to the CEO of the Empire State Development Corporation and former top aide to Cuomo, detailed multiple instances of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior on the governor’s part.
Instances of misconduct included unwanted physical touching and inappropriate remarks of a sexual nature. In one case, she told investigators that Cuomo once asked her to play strip poker during a flight. Investigators also found that Cuomo’s office attempted to discredit Boylan once her allegations surfaced.
“Our investigation identified corroboration for Ms. Boylan’s allegations, including ones the Governor and the Executive Chamber denied,” the report said.
McGrath, a former personal assistant to Cuomo, informed investigators of multiple cases in which the governor behaved inappropriately toward her, including asking about her marital status and staring down her shirt during an encounter in his office.
In one instance, the report said Cuomo called McGrath and Executive Assistant #1 “mingle mamas” ahead of a planned trip to Florida.
The woman, whose last name was not revealed, reportedly met Cuomo at a fundraising event in December 2016, during which he had pictures taken of her in a “dance pose” that made her “uncomfortable.” Less than two weeks later, she was hired to work in the executive chamber.
During her time working for the governor, the report said Cuomo made demeaning remarks toward her and commented on her appearance.
“On one occasion, [he] asked her to look up car parts on eBay on his computer, which she had to bend over to do, while wearing a skirt and heels, as the Governor sat directly behind her in his office, which made her feel uncomfortable,” the report said.
Liss, a former aide at the executive chamber from 2013 to 2015, said Cuomo regularly called her “sweetheart” or “darling,” engaged in unwanted touching, commented on her physical appearance, and asked about her dating life. The former aide noted she did not file a complaint at the time because the workplace culture seemed accepting of the conduct.
State Entity Employee #2
The incident took place on March 17, 2020, when the woman, described as the “then-Director at New York State’s Department of Health,” performed a COVID-19 nasal swab test on Cuomo. Prior to the test, Cuomo asked the woman not to insert the swab “so deep that you hit my brain.”
“State Entity Employee #2 replied that she would be ‘gentle but accurate’ in conducting the swab test, to which the Governor responded, ‘Gentle but accurate, I’ve heard that before.’ State Entity Employee #2 felt that the Governor intended to convey a ‘joke of an implied sexual nature,’” the report said.
Cuomo later made a remark about the doctor’s physical appearance, which she found “offensive.”
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The report said the incident occurred during a wedding party in Sept. 2019. During the party, Cuomo approached Ruch, initially shook her hand and then “quickly moved his hands to her back, touching her bare skin where there was a cutout in her dress.”
When Ruch grabbed Cuomo’s wrist and removed his hand from her back, the governor called her “aggressive” and then “cupped her face in his hands and said, ‘Can I kiss you?'”
“Without waiting for a response, and as Ms. Ruch tried to move and turn her face away, the Governor kissed her left cheek. Pictures taken by Ms. Ruch’s friend captured the Governor’s kiss and Ms. Ruch’s uncomfortable reaction,” the report added.