IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, including employees, New York attorney general finds

The governor has denied touching anyone inappropriately, but has acknowledged that he may have acted in ways that made people feel uncomfortable.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed almost a dozen women, including employees in his office, and violated state and federal laws, according to the findings of an investigation by the state attorney general’s office.

The investigation found that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, nine of whom are current and former state employees — and one of whom is a New York State Trooper. "None of them welcomed it and all of them found it uncomfortable," New York Attorney General Letitia James told reporters Tuesday.

It also found the governor and his team retaliated against a former employee for coming forward, and that they fostered a "toxic" work environment.

In a video statement, Cuomo again denied any wrongdoing, and said he was issuing his own report to "now share the truth." "The facts are much different than has been portrayed," he said. "I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances."

Cuomo, a Democrat in his third term, has rebuffed calls to step down and repeatedly denied wrongdoing, initially predicting that the probe by James' office would exonerate him. It did the opposite, finding that he'd made numerous inappropriate comments to women and subjected some of them to unwanted touching and kissing.

“This is a sad day for New York because independent investigators have concluded that Gov. Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and, in doing so, broke the law,” James said.

State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat who'd previously called on Cuomo to resign, said in a statement, "Now that the investigation is complete and the allegations have been substantiated, it should be clear to everyone that he can no longer serve as governor."

A pattern

James's investigators detailed in graphic terms instances of harassment they say Cuomo perpetuated, including making sexual comments and grabbing women.

Cuomo is accused of "a pattern of inappropriate conduct" with a staff member described as "Executive Assistant #1," which included kissing her on the lips at least once, grabbing her butt during hugs, asking multiple times about whether she had cheated or would cheat on her husband and once reaching under her blouse and grabbing her breast, according to the report.

He sexually harassed a state trooper assigned to his security detail on a number of occasions, the report found.

Cuomo ran "his hand across her stomach, from her belly button to her right hip," as she held a door open, the report states. While she was standing in front of him on an elevator, he ran "his finger down her back, from the top of her neck down her spine to the middle of her back, saying 'hey, you,'" the report states.

In another instance, he is accused of "kissing her (and only her) on the cheek in front of another trooper and asking to kiss her on another occasion, which she deflected." Other troopers corroborated the accounts.

Cuomo and his office also retaliated against the first woman to speak out publicly about how she'd been treated by the governor, Lindsey Boylan, a deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to Cuomo from 2015 to 2018.

Boylan wrote in an essay on the website Medium that she had been subjected to "pervasive harassment" when she worked for him, including being asked to "play strip poker" and receiving an unwanted kiss on the mouth.

After she first tweeted allegations about having been sexually harassed by the governor in December, Cuomo and people in his office "actively engaged in an effort to discredit her, including by disseminating to the press confidential internal documents that painted her in a negative light and circulating among a group of current and former Executive Chamber employees (although not ultimately publishing) a proposed op-ed or letter disparaging Ms. Boylan that the Governor personally participated in drafting," the report found.

'Light on injustice'

James's investigators interviewed Cuomo as part of their probe. "Where the Governor made specific denials of conduct that the complainants recalled clearly," the report said, "we found his denials to lack credibility and to be inconsistent with the weight of the evidence obtained during our investigation."

James summed up the probe by saying it "revealed conduct that corrodes the very fabric and character of our state government and shines light on injustice that can be present at the highest level of government."

The attorney general did not announce any charges, saying that the women could pursue civil suits or that local police departments could review their findings.

"We have issued a report and all throughout the process we put our heads down, we've done our job. And at this point...we're going to allow the chips to call where they may," James said.

Over a half-dozen sexual harassment allegations were leveled at Cuomo this year, and included accusations of unwanted kissing or touching to sexual harassment. The governor has denied touching anyone inappropriately, but has acknowledged that he may have acted in ways that made people feel uncomfortable.

He said that discomfort was unintentional and apologized. He later said that he didn't think his actions should be considered sexual harassment. Cuomo has said repeatedly that he will not resign, despite calls to do so from the bulk of New York's congressional delegation and dozens of state legislators.

James' office began an official investigation into Cuomo in March, right before Anna Ruch, 33, told The New York Times that she felt "uncomfortable and embarrassed" when Cuomo placed his hands on her face and asked to kiss her at a wedding in 2019.

In answering a question on what the public should take away from the report, James replied, "That these 11 women were in a hostile and toxic work environment, and that we should believe women."

This is a breaking news story, please check back for updates.

This story first appeared on