The New York Attorney General’s office has released a report that found Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed numerous female employees.
The report, released on Tuesday, found that Mr Cuomo engaged in sexually harassing conduct such as “engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching, as well as making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women”.
Among some of the most sordid details, the governor was accused not just of “close and intimate hugs” and kisses – including one on the lips – with an executive assistant but also grabbing her bottom and reaching under her blouse to grab her breast.
He was accused of sexually harassing a state trooper after he recruited her to his protective services unit despite not meeting requirements. He also asked her to ask him to find a girlfriend, saying he needed someone who can “handle pain”.
The report also corroborated the experiences of women who have already spoken out, such as Charlotte Bennett and Lindsey Boylan, who spoke about his harassing behaviour.
“Our investigation identified corroboration for Ms. Boylan’s allegations, including ones the Governor and the Executive Chamber denied,” he said.
Attorney General Letitia James detailed the statements in a news conference.
“The investigation found that Gov Cuomo’s actions and those of the executive chamber violated multiple state and federal laws, as well as the executive chamber’s own written policies,” Ms James said Tuesday.
The initial reports of sexual harassment already prompted many New York Democrats to call on the governor to resign, but they moved in earnest on Tuesday.
New York Reps Gregory Meeks, Hakeem Jeffries and Tom Suozzi, all Democrats, called on Cuomo to resign in a joint statement.
Nevertheless, Mr Cuomo adamantly denied the allegations, saying his attorney responded to each allegation.
“I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,” he said, adding that he would not resign. He also added that many of his interactions were normal, showing an entire slideshow of him touching people’s faces and kissing them.
“I do kiss people on the forehead, I do kiss people on the cheek, I do kiss people on the hand, I do embrace people, I do hug people, men and women” he said.
Nevertheless, some New York Democrats such as state Assembly members Yuhline Niou, Jessica González-Rojas and Nily Rozic said Mr Cuomo should be impeached.
At the same time, It is unclear whether public opinion would move toward removing Mr Cuomo from office.
A poll released last month found that only 35 percent of New Yorkers would support removing him from office. At the same time, 51 percent of voters approve of his job performance.
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