A former assistant to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) who has accused him of sexual harassment and misconduct has filed a criminal complaint with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, police said.
The criminal complaint was filed Thursday by a woman identified as “Executive Assistant #1” in the state attorney general’s bombshell report alleging that Cuomo violated federal and state law by sexually harassing at least 11 women and creating a toxic work environment in the Executive Chamber.
This is the first known instance of the allegations against Cuomo being officially reported to a law enforcement agency. The independent investigation conducted by Attorney General Letitia James’s office was a civil investigation and did not reach a conclusion as to whether the governor’s conduct “amounts to or should be the subject of criminal prosecution.”
Sheriff Craig Apple told the New York Post that the governor could be arrested if the allegations are substantiated.
“The end result could either be it sounds substantiated and an arrest is made and it would be up to the DA to prosecute the arrest,” he said.
“Just because of who it is we are not going to rush it or delay it,” the sheriff added.
According to the unknown victim, since late 2019 Cuomo engaged in a pattern of inappropriate conduct with her, including unwanted touching, kisses, close and intimate hugs, and inappropriate comments and jokes about the woman’s personal life, her relationships, and questions about whether she would ever cheat on her husband.
She testified that Cuomo would ask for a hug “almost every time” before she left the Executive Mansion and that over time the hugs felt “closer and tighter.”
“I knew I could feel him pushing my body against his and definitely making sure that he could feel my breasts up against his body. And was doing it in a way that I felt was obviously uncomfortable for me and he was maybe trying to get some sort of personal satisfaction from it,” she told investigators.
She said she could feel the governor’s hands running up and down her back during these hugs.
The alleged abuse culminated in an incident at the Executive Mansion in November 2020 when the victim says the governor pulled her in for a hug and then reached under her blouse and cupped one of her breasts.
“I have to tell you it was–at the moment I was in such shock that I could just tell you that I just remember looking down seeing his hand, seeing the top of my bra and I remember it was like a little even the cup–the kind of bra that I had to the point I could tell you doesn’t really fit me properly, it was a little loose, I just remember seeing exactly that,” she said.
The victim also told investigators that on December 21, 2019, in the governor’s office at the Executive Mansion Cuomo groped her after asking her to take a “selfie” with him. While she was taking the picture, the governor allegedly “moved his hand to grab her butt cheek and began to rub it” for at least five seconds.
The report states that she was shaking so badly during the interaction that the first photos she took came out blurry.
The victim said the governor warned her not to share the photo with anyone, and that while she badly wanted to tell someone what happened, she feared she would lose her job if she reported the unwanted touching.
She told investigators that if either of Cuomo’s top aides Stephanie Benton or Melissa DeRosa heard about the incident, she would be fired.