(Reuters)-A New York State police officer said that Governor Andrew Cuomo stretched her hand from her abdomen to her hip when she opened a door for him. An administrative assistant described the governor reaching out from under her shirt and grabbing her breasts. Another assistant said that he complained to her during the pandemic that he was lonely and “want to be moved.”
On Tuesday, the New York Attorney General’s Office made public 11 women, detailing their interactions with Cuomo, in order to conduct a civil investigation of the governor’s actions. They drew a picture of the governor, who made explicit and pornographic remarks to intimidate women and was not afraid of revenge.
Their testimony represents the latest chapter in the #MeToo social movement that has shaken Hollywood, politics, business, and the workplace, exposing the toxic environment women endure in the hands of men who have long been protected by power, money, and secrets.
The State Attorney General Letitia James’s 168-page report concluded that Como had sexually harassed state employees and the public, and that the Executive Council created a “climate of fear” that caused many women Unwilling to come forward and allow the shocking teasing to continue.
Cuomo defended his actions to investigators and the public. In a televised speech on Tuesday, he denied allegations of sexual harassment and stated that his physical interaction with the accuser was part of his long tradition of goodwill to express warmth through touch. His office also posted a position statement on the charges against him that his lawyer said online.
However, the James Office report stated that the governor’s denial was “in sharp contrast to the intensity, specificity, and corroboration of the accuser’s recall”.
In interviews with investigators, several women described a workplace where women’s looks were commented, and playful teasing and petting were forgiven. They recalled that as Cummer’s behavior evolved from explicit sexual remarks to unwelcome touches, they became more and more disturbed.
Many people express embarrassment and fear to speak out, and do not want to tarnish their profession or reputation. They talked about the emotional pain of being physically assaulted by one of the country’s most prominent politicians.
A former Cuomo aide said that although she knew the governor’s behavior was strange and uncomfortable, she felt that the rules governing appropriate behavior did not apply to his office.
“This is Twilight,” she told investigators.
Another former assistant of Cuomo, Charlotte Bennett, told investigators that the governor made several inappropriate comments about her in 2020. When Bennett told Cuomo that her experience of sexual assault during college was part of her motivation for political work, he pressured her to provide detailed information about the assault and said: “Some people are worse off. .”
In other conversations, he asked her if she was with an older man and said that he felt lonely during the pandemic and “want to be moved.”
Bennett said that in a conversation in June 2020, the governor told her that she should have a tattoo on her hip instead of her shoulder, and asked her to provide detailed information about her dating life. In a text message to a friend later, she said that the conversation made her feel uneasy, confused and trembling.
She reported the incident to the governor’s chief of staff and special counsel, and resigned a few weeks later.
Cuomo’s lawyer issued a lengthy statement on Tuesday that Bennett had misunderstood what the governor considered a “paternalistic and mentoring relationship” with her.
A state trooper assigned to Cuomo’s security details was one of several women who accused the governor of improperly touching. She said that once in the elevator, he ran his fingers across her spine from the back of her neck and said, “Hey, you.” She said that another time, he was in a safety event on Long Island in 2019. Putting her hand on her lower abdomen, she opened a door for him.
The soldier told investigators that she was frightened but felt helpless.
“I feel completely violated,” she said.
According to reports, an administrative assistant recalled that Cuomo asked to take a selfie with her in the office of the Administration Building on New Year’s Eve 2019, and then said that he grabbed her buttocks and rubbed it for “at least five seconds.”
The assistant said that Cuomo ordered her not to share the photo with anyone. She told a colleague at the time that she was afraid to report the incident and might lose her job.
Nearly a year later, in November 2020, the same administrative assistant was called to the governor’s residence. According to the report, Cuomo took her into a room, closed the door, reached under her shirt and put her breasts on her bra.
“I am very shocked at the moment,” the administrative assistant testified. According to reports, she pulled away from the governor and said to him: “You are crazy.”
Cuomo denied the accusation, saying in his testimony: “I must lose my mind to do such a thing.”
The Albany County District Attorney stated that as part of an ongoing criminal investigation, the results of the investigation regarding Como’s conduct will be reviewed.