New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women including current and former state employees, New York Attorney-General Letitia James said on Tuesday.
She was announcing the outcome of a nearly-five month investigation into the matter.
The probe investigated statements by 11 women who came forward with allegations about their experiences with the governor and concluded that the accounts of all 11 were credible, Kyodo News reports.
Cuomo harassed them by “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”, the report said.
Although he denies the allegations and refuses to quit, the result of the investigation is already putting pressure on Cuomo to step down, the New York Post says.
Cuomo, who took office in 2011, enjoyed a surge in popularity last year for his response to the Covid-19 pandemic, in which he conducted daily press conferences for more than 100 straight days as New York became the US state hardest hit by the virus in the early stage of the health crisis.
At the same time, he was criticised for failing to impose lockdown measures quickly enough to prevent significant virus spread and for allegedly underreporting coronavirus deaths in elderly care facilities in the state.
After the release of the report, President Joe Biden called on the governor to step down. “I think he should resign,” he told reporters at the White House.
In the latest development, the first woman to publicly accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment plans to sue him, along with his inner circle for alleged attempts to smear and discredit her, says the New York Post.
Lindsey Boylan tweeted in December that Cuomo “sexually harassed me for years”, opening the floodgates of accusations that the governor behaved inappropriately with young female staffers.
On Wednesday, Boylan’s lawyer Jill Basinger told The New York Times that she will be litigating the claim.
“Because Lindsey was first, the governor needed to send a message,” Basinger reportedly said, referring to how Cuomo’s office sent journalists confidential files detailing workplace complaints against her, along with a formal statement denying the allegations.
“He needed to send a message to every other survivor out there that this is what happens when you go against the machine of the governor’s office,” said Basinger.