Andrew Cuomo announced he will resign from office effective Aug. 24. The Democrat New York governor stepped down about a week after the state attorney general’s office found him guilty of repeatedly sexually harassing multiple women in his entourage.
Although Cuomo did not recognize the serious allegations, he acknowledged the state Legislature cannot focus on its responsibilities if he remains in office.
“The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing,” he said according to the Associated Press.
The governor stressed had always “been joking around” in his interactions with women and did not sexually harass them. He refused to admit wrongdoing and blamed the entire incident on a changing workplace culture, and political opponents trying to bring him down.
“I have never crossed the line with anyone but I did not realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn,” he said according to the Daily Caller. “There are generational and cultural shifts that I just did not fully appreciate.”
State Attorney General Leticia James (D) confirmed allegations the incumbent sexually harassed several women were true on Aug. 3.
“Investigators appointed to conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo conclude that the governor engaged in conduct, constituting sexual harassment under federal and New York state law,” she said in a report.
The 168-page investigation contained testimonies from 11 alleged victims, nine of whom are state employees. James also hired two experienced attorneys outside of the prosecutor’s office.
“The governor sexually harassed a number of current and former New York State employees,” the report said. “Among other things [he is accused of] 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.”
Cuomo previously apologized for making women feel uncomfortable but he rejected any suggestion that he “touched anyone inappropriately.” These statements contradict the attorney general’s report on the victims’s claims.
Executive chamber employees turned a blind eye to unwanted flirtations and sexually charged comments out of fear and intimidation, according to the report. This created an unacceptable work environment and culture.
The report also uncovered evidence of the governor’s office retaliating against victims who reported Cuomo, especially former aides Charlotte Bennett and Lindsey Boylan. The Democrat allegedly circulated personal information about the pair in a bid to discredit their complaints.