Politics & Policy

Former Cuomo Staffer Files Sexual Assault Criminal Complaint with Albany Police

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D., N.Y.) speaks in New York, May 3, 2021. (Timothy A. Clary/Reuters)

A former Cuomo staffer who claimed the New York governor sexually assaulted her in the workplace has filed a criminal complaint with the Albany County sheriff’s department.

The complaint comes days after New York Attorney General Letitia James released a report that found that Cuomo sexually assaulted at least eleven women, some of them state employees, in violation of state and federal law. Cuomo has repeatedly denied touching anyone inappropriately.

The complaint was first reported by the New York Post.

The former aide, who has not been identified, claims that Cuomo reached under her blouse and groped her breasts while they were standing in his office last November. In other more minor incidents, Cuomo repeatedly kissed and hugged her inappropriately, the staffer told investigators. She said she didn’t report Cuomo’s misconduct out of fear of retribution, namely, potentially getting fired.

While James’s memo argued that the evidence of the governor’s guilt is overwhelming, it did not explicitly advise pursuing criminal prosecution, leaving that decision up to local prosecutors. The criminal complaint from the anonymous executive assistant suggests Cuomo’s accusers will take accountability into their own hands through the police. Some legal scholars argue that his behavior qualifies as forcible touching, which could be charged and sentenced as a misdemeanor.

The Albany County prosecutor, David Soares, is one of five prosecutors who is probing the allegations against the governor after the report’s release.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Biden have publicly called for Cuomo’s resignation. If he does not step down voluntarily, a majority of New York state lawmakers, including many Democrats, support initiating articles of impeachment against the governor.

Once the New York Assembly approves impeachment proceedings, the case would go to trial. The state legislature gave Cuomo a deadline of August 13 to submit any outstanding evidence for his defense in the impeachment inquiry, which he agreed to cooperate with Thursday.

Despite the backlash and pressure from both Republican critics and Democratic colleagues, Cuomo has refused to resign.

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