A look at the harassment claims against Gov. Andrew Cuomo
NEW YORK (AP) — A long-awaited report issued Tuesday by New York Attorney General Letitia James into sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo detailed several accounts from accusers who have gone public.
But the report also revealed previously unknown accusations, including one by a state trooper assigned to Cuomo’s security detail.
Investigators hired specifically for this case said they corroborated the accounts of at least 11 women.
Cuomo denied many of the allegations, saying he never touched anyone inappropriately. Those he didn’t deny — like kissing women on their cheeks and calling them names like “sweetheart” — were innocent or overblown, he said.
Here’s a look at the women and their allegations, as described by the investigators, and Cuomo’s responses:
TROOPER NO. 1
A state trooper whom Cuomo successfully sought to have assigned to his security detail said the governor kissed her cheek, touched her belly and back and made inappropriate, gender-based remarks to and about her, including asking her why she did not wear a dress. Several other troopers witnessed these acts and corroborated her allegations, according to the report. The trooper wasn’t identified by name in the report and has not told her story publicly.
A 26-page statement issued by Cuomo’s attorney, Rita Glavin, after the report’s release does not mention the trooper, whose account was not public before Tuesday.
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT NO. 1
A woman who worked in Cuomo’s office became visibly emotional watching a press conference early this year in which Cuomo denied ever touching anyone inappropriately, investigators wrote. She told colleagues Cuomo had reached under her blouse and groped her breast in his office at the governor’s mansion three months earlier. The governor’s staff later reported the allegations to Albany police.
The woman also told investigators Cuomo had, on various occasions since 2019, grabbed her buttocks, kissed her on the lips, hugged her inappropriately and pried into her personal life.
Cuomo says he never groped her, pointing to text messages the executive assistant sent to other staff on the day in question, indicating nothing was amiss, as evidence it didn’t happen. He told investigators she initiated their hugs, and that he was “more in the reciprocal business.” CHARLOTTE BENNETT
Bennett, a low-level aide to Cuomo, said the governor asked her about her love life, including whether she ever had sex with older men, whether she had been with older men and whether she was monogamous. He also told her that he was “lonely” and “wanted to be touched,” according to the report.
When Bennett complained to administration officials that she felt like the governor was hitting on her, she was transferred to another job. The administration did not formally investigate or report the allegations to the governor’s Office of Employee Relations, the attorney general’s investigators determined.
Cuomo apologized to Bennett in a recorded video released in response to the attorney general’s report, saying that he had been trying to counsel her after she confided in him that she is a sexual assault survivor because someone in his family had suffered a similar experience.
STATE ENTITY EMPLOYEE NO. 1
A woman who worked for an entity affiliated with the state told investigators that Cuomo tapped and grabbed her butt while they posed for a photo at a 2019 event sponsored by her organization. She told friends about it at the time, the report states.
Cuomo’s statement does not mention this interaction.
Virginia Limmiatis, an energy company worker, said Cuomo ran his fingers on the lettering that ran across the chest of her shirt when they met in a rope line at a 2017 event. He then told her he was going to say there was a spider on her shoulder and proceeded to brush her chest with his hand, the report said.
Limmiatis immediately told other attendees what had happened, investigators found, but she didn’t come forward until seeing Cuomo’s press conference this year denying he’d touched anyone inappropriately.
The statement from Cuomo’s attorney does not mention this interaction.
The report found that Cuomo kissed, touched, and made inappropriate comments to Lindsey Boylan while she served in various roles working closely with the governor. He commented on Boylan’s physical appearance and attractiveness, compared her to a former girlfriend and suggested they play strip poker, investigators found.
The attorney general’s report also says that “the Executive Chamber actively engaged in an effort to discredit her” after Boylan, the governor’s first accuser to go public, reported the harassment in December 2020. This included leaking records related to her departure from her job.
The statement released by Cuomo’s attorney delves into those details, saying Boylan was dismissed for bullying subordinates and suggesting she made up her sexual harassment claims to further her own political aspirations.
Cuomo made inappropriate comments to another executive assistant, Alyssa McGrath, including commenting on her neckline after staring down her loose shirt, regularly asking about her marital status and asking whether she would tell on Executive Assistant No. 1 if she were to cheat on her husband, the report says.
Cuomo’s attorney’s statement concedes he referred to McGrath and Executive Assistant No. 1 as “mingle mamas,” but only after they said they were “single and ready to mingle” ahead of a business trip.
Another woman, listed just as “Kaitlin” in the report, was hired to work for the governor after meeting him at a fundraising event in December 2016. Cuomo regularly made Kaitlin uncomfortable by commenting on her appearance and telling her she was not ready for work if she was not wearing makeup, and by calling her “sponge” — apparently a reference to his advice to soak up knowledge from others — which she told investigators she found embarrassing, condescending and demeaning.
Glavin’s statement says the governor frequently comments on staffers’ appearances, usually in a complimentary fashion. It also says he was frustrated with Kaitlin’s job performance.
Ana Liss worked as an aide in Cuomo’s office from 2013 to 2015, and told investigators he kissed and touched her, addressed her almost exclusively as “sweetheart” or “darling,” made inquiries about her relationship status and made inappropriate remarks about her appearance. In the report, Liss explains that she did not immediately come forward about the harassment because, in the governor’s office, “the typical rules did not apply.”
Cuomo’s attorney’s statement notes that Liss tweeted favorably at and about Cuomo long after she left his office, suggesting that undercuts her account. The attorney’s statement also suggests the timing of Liss coming forward was politically motivated.
“The governor’s interactions with Alyssa McGrath, Ana Liss and Kaitlin were unremarkable,” Glavin’s statement says.
STATE ENTITY EMPLOYEE NO. 2
A doctor at the state health department told investigators Cuomo made a sexually suggestive comment just before she performed a COVID-19 nasal swab test on him during a televised press conference at the start of the pandemic.
“You make that gown look good,” Cuomo said after thanking her during the press conference.
She told investigators she found the comments demeaning and felt Cuomo wouldn’t have made them to a male doctor.
Glavin’s statement doesn’t address this allegation.
In September 2019, Anna Ruch met Cuomo at a wedding reception for one of Cuomo’s staff members. She told investigators Cuomo touched her bare back and, after she removed his hand, grabbed her face and kissed her. Ruch said the governor remarked, “Wow, you’re aggressive.” Ruch’s friend photographed the encounter.
Cuomo says he commonly kisses people on the face, attributing it to his Italian heritage, and said he didn’t mean to make Ruch feel uncomfortable.