Entertainment

Gov. Cuomo’s office refers latest sexual harassment allegation to police


The Albany Police Department has been formally notified by Cuomo’s office over claims the embattled governor groped a female staffer in an incident that may have ‘risen to the level of a crime‘, officials confirmed Thursday.

A spokesperson for the department, Steve Smith, said that police had not received a formal complaint from the alleged victim, who has not been named, but they have reached out to a representative for her.

This doesn’t mean police have opened a criminal investigation, rather that the department has offered its services to the woman, ‘as we would any other report or incident’, Smith said.

Albany PD said it received the referral from a state official on Wednesday night, shortly after an article was published in the Times Union that detailed the woman’s accusations.

The female aide, who is said to be much younger than Cuomo, claims the 63-year-old governor summoned her to his residence in the Albany Executive Mansion, where he put his hand under her shirt and fondled her.

By Thursday afternoon, New York State Assembly officials confirmed a judiciary committee with subpoena power has been formed to also investigate the claims. 

The Albany Police Department has been formally notified by Cuomo’s office regarding an allegation the embattled governor groped a female staffer in an incident that may have ‘risen to the level of a crime’

Smith told the New York Times that the call alerting Albany PD to the latest allegation against Cuomo had initially come from the New York State Police.

However, in a statement, Cuomo’s acting counsel, Beth Garvey, confirmed it was her who had contacted authorities after a lawyer for the female aide told the governor’s office that the aide did not want to file a report.

‘As a matter of state policy, when allegations of physical contact are made, the agency informs the complainant that they should contact their local police department,’ Garvey clarified. ‘If they decline, the agency has an obligation to reach out themselves and inform the department of the allegation.’

‘In this case, the person is represented by counsel and when counsel confirmed the client did not want to make a report, the state notified the police department and gave them the attorney’s information.’

While the police department is just following standard procedure by reaching out to the alleged victim, the situation could quickly lead to potential criminal exposure for Cuomo, should the woman wish to pursue charges for unwanted touching. 

The woman’s allegations first came to light on Tuesday. Her claims followed on from allegations made by five other women – including four former aides – who have accused Cuomo of either sexual harassment or misconduct. 

Those prior allegations range from instances of Cuomo making inappropriate comments to unwanted physical contact.

According to the latest accuser, she was summoned by the governor to the Executive Mansion, in Albany, late last year, after Cuomo told her he needed help with his cellphone.

With the pair alone on the second floor in his personal residence, Cuomo allegedly closed the door, reached under her shirt and fondled her. The woman then told him to stop.  

A female supervisor in Cuomo’s office first became aware of the aide’s allegations on March 3, when the governor, following multiple allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior, issued a televised statement denying touching anyone inappropriately

The aide reportedly became emotional during the governor’s address, which the supervisor noticed. The women then told the supervisor about her alleged encounter with the governor months earlier.

The sixth accuser, who has not been named, said her incident occurred late last year at the Executive Mansion in Albany (pictured)

The sixth accuser, who has not been named, said her incident occurred late last year at the Executive Mansion in Albany (pictured)

The aide hadn’t filed a formal complaint, but the allegation was forwarded this week to the state attorney general, which is currently overseeing an investigation into all the harassment allegations against Cuomo.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan waded in on the mounting allegations against Cuomo on Wednesday, tweeting a statement affirming that any other potential victims who wish to come forward will be properly assisted by police.

‘The act of speaking out after being victimized can be a deeply painful and traumatic experience,’ Sheehan wrote. ‘The young woman reference in recent reports has the right to determine who she speaks to regarding her experience and when.

‘The Attorney General has commenced an investigation into previous allegations against the Governor, and I have the utmost confidence in her ability to investigate this latest report.

She continued: ‘At this time no criminal complaint involving this matter has been file by the victim with the Albany Police Department, but Chief Hawkins assured me this evening that APD stands ready to assist any victim who seeks to come forward.’  

While it remains to be seen whether a criminal investigation will be launched, Cuomo is facing increasing pressure to resign in the wake of the most recent allegation.

Earlier Thursday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio directly called for Cuomo to step down as governor during a press briefing, calling his sixth accuser’s claims ‘deeply troubling’ and ‘disgusting’.

‘The latest report, and the fact that we can talk about how many people have been come forward with accusations. It’s not one, it’s not two, it’s not three, it’s not four, it’s not five – it’s six women who have come forward,’ Hizzoner began.

‘It’s deeply troubling, the specific allegation that the governor called an employee of his – someone who he had power over – he called them to a place and then sexually assaulted her is absolutely unacceptable.

‘It’s is disgusting to me,’ de Blasio continued. ‘He can no longer serve as governor. It’s as simple as that.’ 

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan waded in on the mounting allegations against Cuomo on Wednesday, tweeting a statement affirming that any other potential victims who wish to come forward with allegations will be properly assisted by police.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan waded in on the mounting allegations against Cuomo on Wednesday, tweeting a statement affirming that any other potential victims who wish to come forward with allegations will be properly assisted by police.

De Blasio added that, compounding his stance, was that fact that over the past few weeks, ‘so many troubling things’ had come out about him, including the allegations of his five other accusers and accusations he actively sought to cover up coronavirus nursing home deaths.

‘We still don’t have the truth about that,’ he said of nursing home deaths. ‘And their families need and deserve to know the truth.

‘We know one thing: We know there was a purposeful cover-up and that alone is unacceptable and disqualifying.

‘These six women have come forward with these powerful and painful stories – and particularly this most recent report is just disqualifying. He just can’t serve as governor anymore,’ de Blasio concluded. 

It was the first time the mayor had directly called for Cuomo’s resignation, having continuously skirted the question in recent days and weeks. 

Joining the chorus of outrage was a group of 59 state legislatures who all signed and published a letter demanding Cuomo’s immediate resignation earlier Thursday. 

Nineteen senators and 40 Assembly members said in the letter that it was time for Cuomo to go.

‘In light of the Governor´s admission of inappropriate behavior and the findings of altered data on nursing home COVID-19 deaths he has lost the confidence of the public and the state legislature, rendering him ineffective in this time of most urgent need,’ the letter said. ‘It is time for Governor Cuomo to resign.’ 

The number of signatories comprise nearly 40 percent of the Democratic Party’s total membership in the Assembly and Senate, where it holds firm majorities.

Of the 40 signers who serve in the Assembly, if they were all to join forces with the 43 Republicans in the Assembly, they would have seven more votes than the minimum of 76 required to impeach Cuomo. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday directly called for Andrew Cuomo's resignation for the first time

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday directly called for Andrew Cuomo’s resignation for the first time

The group of Senate and Assembly Democrats released a statement Thursday morning demanding Cuomo stand down and be replaced by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul in the interests of 'the future of New York State'. Pictured the letter

The group of Senate and Assembly Democrats released a statement Thursday morning demanding Cuomo stand down and be replaced by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul in the interests of ‘the future of New York State’. Pictured the letter

A total of six women have now accused Cuomo of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior, with the five prior allegations ranging from making inappropriate comments, to making unwanted physical contact.

Cuomo, meanwhile, has denied the allegations and has insisted there is ‘no way’ he will be resigning. 

At least four accusers – Bennett, Lindsey Boylan, Anna Liss and Karen Hinton – worked for the governor in Albany or during his time in President Bill Clinton’s Cabinet. 

Another, Anna Ruch, told The New York Times that she met Cuomo at a friend’s wedding where he touched her face and asked to kiss her.

‘I have never done anything like this,’ he said of his sixth accuser’s claims. ‘The details of this report are gut-wrenching. I am not going to speak to the specifics of this or any other allegation given the ongoing review, but I am confident in the result of the attorney general’s report.’

However, in addition to the latest victim, five other woman have also accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, with the allegations ranging from making inappropriate comments, to making unwanted physical contact.  

US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) during a radio interview called the new claim against Cuomo ‘nauseating,’ but did not call for the governor to step down. 

He also appeared to accuse Cuomo of withholding pandemic money from New York City in a separate address, while announcing a a massive COVID vaccine push in the Big Apple which will see him hand $32 billion allocated for the shots in the COVID relief bill in December straight to Mayor de Blasio.

‘There’s money for the MTA, there’s money for our schools, and there is money for New York City,’ the New York Senator said as he appeared with de Blasio during the Mayor’s Thursday morning press conference.

‘With the mayor’s guidance and a little bit of prodding, we made sure that money doesn’t come through Albany, it goes directly to the city because when Albany gets the money sometimes the city doesn’t see all of it.’

Cuomo, meanwhile, has denied the allegations and has insisted there is 'no way' he will be resigning

Cuomo, meanwhile, has denied the allegations and has insisted there is ‘no way’ he will be resigning

Senator Chuck Schumer announced a massive COVID vaccine push in New York City on Thursday as he took a swipe at Cuomo amid calls for his resignation

Senator Chuck Schumer announced a massive COVID vaccine push in New York City on Thursday as he took a swipe at Cuomo amid calls for his resignation

State Attorney General Letitia James has put together an investigative team to probe Cuomo’s workplace conduct.

The governor has called on lawmakers and the public to await the results of that investigation.

Federal investigators are also scrutinizing how his administration handled data concerning COVID-19 outbreaks at nursing homes.

Cuomo has been under fire for weeks, beginning with revelations that his administration withheld details from the public about the pandemic’s death toll among residents in state nursing homes.

Scrutiny of the governor – who received accolades during the height of the coronavirus pandemic for leadership that yielded a book deal and calls for a national political career – intensified when former adviser Boylan, 36, reiterated harassment claims made in December, fleshing them out in a late February blog post. 



Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button