Monday, October 18

The evidence is damning. If Cuomo respected himself, he would resign | Moira Donegan


“We we found the 11 women to be credible, “he said. Ann l clark, at a press conference on Tuesday. Clark, a labor attorney, is one of the independent attorneys hired to conduct New York Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against Governor Andrew Cuomo. His statement was made as part of the launch of a 165 page report by the attorney general’s office, an investigative investigation that determined that the governor had behaved in an abusive, harassing and illegal manner towards subordinate women. The report corroborated the accounts of nearly a dozen women, including nine current and former employees of the governor’s office, a state trooper and an employee of the National Grid power company. The report found that Cuomo not only sexually harassed women personally, but created a hostile work environment and used his office in an attempt to silence and punish his accusers, all of which violate both federal and state civil rights laws. from New York. The report is the product of a months-long investigation, which included interviews with 179 people, a review of 74,000 documents, and 11 hours of sworn testimony from Cuomo himself.

The report confirms the accounts of former aides, including Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, who described a high-pressure environment (“riddled with fear and intimidation,” in the report’s words) in which pleasing the governor was paramount and where proposals Vulgar, intrusive inquiries about their personal lives, and unsolicited physical contact were common. The attorney general’s office credited Boylan’s account of being forcibly harassed and kissed by the governor. The report also points to the abundant evidence supporting the allegations made by Bennett, a very young aide to whom the governor expressed sexual interest in no uncertain terms, asking if she was monogamous or sleeping with older men. Bennett’s account, the report says, matches contemporary notes made by officials to whom he complained, as well as his own press statements and near-contemporary texts he sent to friends and loved ones describing his distress over the behavior. by Cuomo. The report also corroborates an account of an aide, whose identity has not been made public, who claims that the governor reached under her blouse and touched her breast in the governor’s mansion. That incident was reported to the Albany Police.

James’s report also reveals new allegations against Cuomo. A state trooper assigned to her security team says she touched her stomach in one case and ran her finger down her spine while saying “Hey, you” in another. She says he kissed her on the cheek in front of his co-workers, an indignity male soldiers weren’t subjected to, and commented that if she married, it would decrease her sex drive. The police alleges that Cuomo, 63, told him that he was looking for a girlfriend in her 20s who “could take the pain.” All of this happened while the soldier was responsible for Cuomo’s safety and security.

Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing, claiming in his own press conference Tuesday that the attorney general’s investigation was biased, that he has never touched anyone inappropriately, that he offers unsolicited kisses to many people regardless of gender, and that Bennett, the young assistant who accused him of harassment. , misinterpreted his comments due to his history of sexual assault. The attorney general’s report said that investigators found Cuomo’s denials for “lacking credibility and being inconsistent with the weight of the evidence obtained during our investigation.”

The report offers a damning and comprehensive look at Cuomo’s office culture, one in which women’s boundaries were pushed, the governor’s whims were indulged, and the dignity of employees was routinely insulted much to Cuomo’s amusement. But it was hardly written at all. After the sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo were made public earlier this year, the governor refused to resign, despite many state legislators and nearly the entire New York Congressional delegation calling to do so. When an independent investigation was proposed, Cuomo attempted to assign the investigation to the judges he appointed, possibly in an effort to influence its outcome. The elected attorney general had to fight for jurisdiction in order to carry out an independent investigation.

Cuomo has clung to power for the past year even as his administration has been embroiled in other scandals. There was the revelation that during the pandemic, he used state employees to help you write the ostentatious and self-indulgent memoirs for which he was paid handsomely. More disturbing was the news that after a mistake in handling the pandemic cost the lives of thousands of older people, the governor’s office manipulated the data on deaths in nursing homes, hoping to shirk responsibility. These scandals also point to the same attitude of the governor as do the alleged butt grabs and adolescent rudeness outlined in the report: the idea of ​​power not as a responsibility to others, but as a license to do whatever you want.

The governor is not civic minded; he is not responsible to his office. He is reckless, disrespectful, misogynistic, and allergic to taking responsibility. He has demonstrated not just an inability for power, but a personal moral emptiness: an unwillingness to think of other people, of women, as equals, or to imagine that his own actions have consequences. Cuomo has a tremendous ego, but he seems to lack self-respect.


www.theguardian.com

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