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Read the Most Damning Allegations

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Read the Most Damning Allegations

Photo: Seth Wenig/Pool via REUTERS – RC2TDM9N65VW

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo “engaged in conduct constituting sexual harassment under federal and New York State law.” That is the bombshell conclusion of the report the office of New York State attorney general Letitia James released on Tuesday morning. The 165-page report, the culmination of a nearly five-month investigation led by two outside attorneys, includes accounts from 11 women who say the governor engaged in a pattern of unwanted touching and inappropriate remarks. Many of the women had already gone public, but the document contains at least two previously unreported allegations of sexual misconduct by the governor — including claims from a female state trooper tasked with protecting Cuomo and a doctor who publicly gave him a COVID test. Cuomo insisted that the allegations are false, saying in a speech on Tuesday that he “never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.”

Here’s a guide to the allegations described in the report, including what we know about the 11 women, which claims are new, and excerpts of the investigators’ most appalling findings.

Was the allegation previously known? Yes.
Did Executive Assistant No. 1 work for the state? Yes.
Summary of Executive Assistant No. 1’s allegations: Executive Assistant No. 1 says that since 2019, Cuomo repeatedly subjected her to inappropriate remarks and touching. She says this culminated in Cuomo reaching under her blouse and grabbing her breast.
Key excerpts from the report:

On Cuomo’s alleged pattern of behavior toward Executive Assistant No. 1:

Since approximately late 2019, the Governor engaged in a pattern of inappropriate conduct with an executive assistant (“Executive Assistant #1”), who is a woman. That pattern of conduct included: (1) close and intimate hugs; (2) kisses on the cheeks, forehead, and at least one kiss on the lips; (3) touching and grabbing of Executive Assistant #1’s butt during hugs and, on one occasion, while taking selfies with him; and (4) comments and jokes by the Governor about Executive Assistant #1’s personal life and relationships, including calling her and another assistant “mingle mamas,” inquiring multiple times about whether she had cheated or would cheat on her husband, and asking her to help find him a girlfriend.

On how Cuomo’s alleged unwanted touching escalated to include regular hugs and kisses, and groping her butt:

In or around the end of 2019, on the first day Executive Assistant #1 was working at the Executive Mansion alone with the Governor, Governor Cuomo gave Executive Assistant #1 a private tour of the Mansion. As the Governor and Executive Assistant #1 were looking at photographs during the tour at one point, Governor Cuomo “almost pushed his hand along [Executive Assistant #1’s] butt,” but in a way that was not clear whether he had intended to do so.

As Executive Assistant #1 continued to provide assistance to the Governor at the Executive Mansion throughout 2020, the Governor began to request a hug from Executive Assistant #1 “almost every time” before she left the Mansion. Over time, the hugs felt “closer and tighter,” to the point where: 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. Executive Assistant #1 could feel the Governor’s hands running up and down her back during these hugs as well.

… when the Governor hugged her, he sometimes also kissed her. Most of the kisses were on her cheek—but, on at least one occasion in early 2020, the Governor quickly turned his head and kissed her on the lips. On another occasion, during another hug, the Governor began to rub his hands on Executive Assistant #1’s lower back and said something like, “Does that feel good?” Executive Assistant #1 recalled freezing in place and not knowing what to say in response.

On December 31, 2019, Executive Assistant #1 was assisting the Governor in his office at the Executive Mansion when the Governor asked her to take a “selfie” photograph with him. Governor Cuomo stood next to Executive Assistant #1, on her left, as she took a selfie with her right hand. As Executive Assistant #1 held up the camera, the Governor moved his hand to grab her butt cheek and began to rub it. The rubbing lasted at least five seconds.

On the allegations that Cuomo groped Executive Assistant No. 1’s breast after she was summoned to the governor’s office to help him with his Blackberry:

As Executive Assistant #1 finished her assignment and prepared to leave the Governor’s personal office, on the second floor in the Mansion, and return to the Capitol, the Governor pulled Executive Assistant #1 in for a close hug. Executive Assistant #1 was conscious that the door to the Governor’s office (facing out into the hallway on the second floor) was open at the time. Executive Assistant #1 stepped away from the Governor and said, “You’re going to get us in trouble,” to which the Governor replied, “I don’t care,” and slammed the door shut. Executive Assistant #1 testified that the Governor’s demeanor at the time “wasn’t like ‘ha ha,’ it was like, ‘I don’t care.’ … It was like in this—at that moment he was sexually driven. I could tell and the way he said it, I could tell.”

The Governor then returned to Executive Assistant #1 and slid his hand up her blouse, and grabbed her breast, “cupp[ing her] breast” over her bra. Executive Assistant #1 testified:

“I mean it was—he was like cupping my breast. He cupped my breast. 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.”

Was the allegation previously known? No.
Did Trooper No. 1 work for the state? Yes.
Summary of Trooper No. 1’s allegations: Trooper No. 1 says that after Cuomo encountered her during an event on the Triborough Bridge in 2017, he arranged to have her join his Protective Services Unit, though she did not meet the qualifications. She says that after she was assigned to his personal protective unit, he sexually harassed her multiple times. She says that during one incident he ran his hand across her lower stomach while she held a door open for him, and that during another he ran a finger down her back and said “Hey you” in an elevator.
Key excerpts from the report:

On Cuomo’s alleged pattern of misconduct:

After Trooper #1 joined the PSU, the Governor sexually harassed her on a number of occasions, including by: (1) running his hand across her stomach, from her belly button to her right hip, while she held a door open for him at an event; (2) running his finger down her back, from the top of her neck down her spine to the middle of her back, saying “hey, you,” while she was standing in front of him in an elevator; (3) kissing her (and only her) on the cheek in front of another Trooper and asking to kiss her on another occasion, which she deflected; and (4) making sexually suggestive and gender-based comments, including (a) asking her to help him find a girlfriend and describing his criteria for a girlfriend as someone who “[c]an handle pain,” (b) asking her why she wanted to get married when marriage means “your sex drive goes down,” and (c) asking her why she did not wear a dress.

On the alleged unwanted touching in the elevator:

She stated that, as is typical when riding the elevator with the Governor, she stood in front of the door, and the Governor stood behind her. As Trooper #1, Senior Investigator #1, and the Governor were riding the elevator up, the Governor placed his finger on the top of her neck and ran his finger down the center of her spine midway down her back, and said to Trooper #1, “Hey, you.”

On Cuomo kissing Trooper No. 1 while she was on duty in the summer of 2019:

Trooper #1 was stationed outside the Mt. Kisco residence and approached the Governor in the driveway to ask if he needed anything. At this point, the Governor responded, “Can I kiss you?” Trooper #1 testified, “I remember just freezing, being—in the back of my head, I’m like, oh, how do I say no politely because in my head if I said no, he’s going to take it out on the detail. And now I’m on the bad list.” Unsure what to do, she replied, “Sure.” The Governor then proceeded to kiss Trooper #1 on the cheek and said something to the effect of, “oh, I’m not supposed to do that” or “unless that’s against the rules.”

On Trooper No. 1 denying Cuomo a kiss in October 2019:

Trooper #1 stated that in mid-to-late October 2019, the Governor again asked to kiss her, this time at an event at the Low Memorial Library. Trooper #1 stated that, at this event, the Governor approached her window while she was in the driver’s seat of the tail car and asked if he could kiss her. Trooper #1, following her friend’s suggestion, told the Governor she was sick. She said that the Governor looked at her “almost in disgust that [she] had denied him,” and then walked away.

On Cuomo touching Trooper No. 1’s lower stomach as she held a door open for him in September 2019:

As the Governor walked by Trooper #1, he ran the palm of his left hand across her stomach in the direction opposite the direction that he was walking. The center of the Governor’s hand was on Trooper #1’s belly button, and he pushed his hand back to her right hip where she kept her gun. A Senior Investigator (“Senior Investigator #2”) who was walking behind the Governor saw the Governor touch Trooper #1 in the stomach, and a number of PSU members recalled hearing about this incident from Trooper #1 after it happened.

In her testimony, Trooper #1 described the way in which the Governor touched her stomach as follows: “I felt … the palm of his hand on my bellybutton and … pushed back toward my right hip where my gun is … I would say [the bellybutton] was probably in … the center of his palm.” The conduct made Trooper #1 feel “completely violated because to me, like that’s between my chest and my privates.”

Was the allegation previously known? Yes.
Did Bennett work for the state? Yes.
Summary of Bennett’s allegations: Bennett says that during discussions with Cuomo while she was employed as an executive assistant in 2020, he made a number of inappropriate remarks, such as letting her know that he would date someone who was, like her, in their mid-20s and asking if she was monogamous. Cuomo was aware at the time that she was a survivor of sexual assault.
Key excerpts from the report:

On what Cuomo said during discussions with Bennett:

In a series of conversations in 2020 with an aide, Charlotte Bennett, the Governor made inappropriate comments, including, among many other things: (1) telling Ms. Bennett, in talking about potential girlfriends for him, that he would be willing to date someone who was as young as 22 years old (he knew Ms. Bennett was 25 at the time); (2) asking her whether she had been with older men; (3) saying to her during the pandemic that he was “lonely” and “wanted to be touched”;10 (4) asking whether Ms. Bennett was monogamous; (5) telling Ms. Bennett, after she told him that she was considering getting a tattoo for her birthday, that if she decided to get a tattoo, she should get it on her butt, where it could not be seen; (6) asking whether she had any piercings other than her ears; and (7) saying that he wanted to ride his motorcycle into the mountains with a woman.

On Cuomo forcing Bennett to learn and perform the song “Danny Boy”:

That same day, she was in the Governor’s office when he asked her whether she knew the song, “Danny Boy.” Ms. Bennett recalled that the Governor had a copy of the lyrics with him that he handed to her as he asked her to memorize the lyrics. Ms. Bennett spent much of the day trying to memorize the lyrics to the song, and the Governor occasionally “would pop out” of the side door to his office that opened to Ms. Bennett’s cubicle and ask her to start singing the song.

… The Governor then called Ms. Bennett into Ms. Benton’s office, where Ms. Benton and Ms. DeRosa were also present, and asked Ms. Bennett to sing “Danny Boy.” Ms. Bennett testified that she began to recite the lyrics, and Governor Cuomo stopped her and asked her to sing the lyrics instead. When Ms. Bennett resisted, the Governor began to sing the song, and Ms. Bennett attempted to join. Ms. Bennett noted that Ms. DeRosa remarked that this was “hazing.”

On Cuomo denying that he knows the song “Do You Love Me,” though investigators obtained a recording of him singing it to Bennett during a phone call:

The Governor also testified that he did not recall ever singing any part of a song to Ms. Bennett, including “Do You Love Me?” by the Contours, going so far as to say “I don’t even know that song.” However, a call that Ms. Bennett recorded for dictation purposes from October 4, 2019 begins with the Governor singing the chorus to that song several times to Ms. Bennett before beginning dictation.

Was the allegation previously known? No.
Did Employee No. 1 work for the state? She worked for a “state-affiliated entity.”
Summary of Employee No. 1’s allegations: Employee No. 1 says that Cuomo grabbed her butt while they were posing for a photo at an event sponsored by her employer in 2019.
Key excerpts from the report:

On the alleged incident:

Following a speech by the Governor, he posed for pictures with other attendees, including with an employee of that State-affiliated entity (“State Entity Employee #1”), who was a woman. While the picture was being taken, the Governor put his hand on State Entity Employee #1’s butt, tapped it twice, and then grabbed her butt. State Entity Employee #1 was “shocked” at the time, and discussed it with a number of friends, family, and co-workers. Following the advice of a friend, she also contemporaneously memorialized the Governor’s inappropriate touching.

Was the allegation previously known? Yes.
Did Limmiatis work for the state? No.
Summary of Limmiatis’s allegations: Limmiatis says that while greeting Cuomo on a rope line in 2017, he ran his fingers over the slogan on her T-shirt, pressing down on her chest, then brushed his hand over her upper chest, telling her he was pretending to see a bug on her shirt.
Key excerpts from the report:

On the alleged incident:

In May 2017, Virginia Limmiatis attended a conservation event in upstate New York on behalf of her employer (“Energy Company”) at which the Governor spoke. After the event, Ms. Limmiatis stood in a rope line to meet with the Governor, along with other attendees. She wore a shirt that had the name of the Energy Company written across the chest. When the Governor reached Ms. Limmiatis, he ran two fingers across her chest, pressing down on each of the letters as he did so and reading out the name of the Energy Company as he went. The Governor then leaned in, with his face close to Ms. Limmiatis’s cheek, and said, “I’m going to say I see a spider on your shoulder,” before brushing his hand in the area between her shoulder and breasts (and below her collarbone).

Was the allegation previously known? Yes.
Did Boylan work for the state? Yes.
Summary of Boylan’s allegations: Boylan, who was the first woman to publicly accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment, says that while she was chief of staff at New York’s state economic agency, the governor repeatedly made offensive remarks to her and touched various parts of her body. She says this culminated in an unwanted kiss on the lips as she was exiting a meeting.
Key excerpts from the report:

The summary of Boylan’s allegations against Cuomo:

[Boylan says Cuomo] (1) commented on her appearance and attractiveness, including comparing her to a former girlfriend and describing her as attractive; (2) paid attention to her in a way that led her supervisor at ESD to say that the Governor had a “crush” on her and to ask her whether she needed help in dealing with the Governor’s conduct; (3) physically touched her on various parts of her body, including her waist, legs, and back; (4) made inappropriate comments, including saying to her once on a plane, words to the effect of, “let’s play strip poker”; and (5) kissed her on the cheeks and, on one occasion, on the lips. Our investigation identified corroboration for Ms. Boylan’s allegations, including ones the Governor and the Executive Chamber denied.

On the Cuomo team’s alleged efforts to discredit Boylan:

Following Ms. Boylan’s public allegation of sexual harassment against the Governor in December 2020 (at a time when she was running for public office), the Governor and the Executive Chamber 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. 

Was the allegation previously known? Yes.
Did McGrath work for the state? Yes.
Summary of McGrath’s allegations: McGrath, an aide in the governor’s office, says that the governor asked inappropriate questions about her personal life and relationships, and once overtly stared down her loose blouse.
Key excerpts from the report:

On Cuomo’s alleged pattern of behavior toward McGrath:

In his interactions with another executive assistant, Alyssa McGrath, the Governor made inappropriate comments and engaged in harassing conduct, including: (1) regularly asking about her personal life, including her marital status and divorce; (2) asking whether Ms. McGrath would tell on Executive Assistant #1 if she were to cheat on her husband—and whether Ms. McGrath herself planned to “mingle” with men—on the two women’s upcoming trip to Florida, and then calling the two women “mingle mamas”;18 and (3) staring down her loose shirt and then commenting on her necklace (which was inside her shirt) when Ms. McGrath looked up. 

On Cuomo allegedly looking down McGrath’s blouse:

Ms. McGrath looked up at [Cuomo], and saw that he was staring down into Ms. McGrath’s shirt, which was a silk-like blouse that was loosely hanging off of her as she was slightly bent forward.After Ms. McGrath looked up and saw that the Governor had been looking in the area of her chest, the Governor asked her what was on her necklace, which was hanging between Ms. McGrath’s breasts and the shirt. Ms. McGrath responded that her necklace had a pendant of the Virgin Mary and an Italian horn. Ms. McGrath understood the Governor’s question about her necklace as confirmation that he in fact had been looking down her shirt, and she felt embarrassed, uncomfortable, and stressed.

Was the allegation previously known? Yes.
Did Kaitlin work for the state? Yes.
Summary of Kaitlin’s allegations: Kaitlin says that when she met Cuomo at a fundraising event in 2016, he grabbed her and had a photo taken with her in a dance pose, which she found uncomfortable. Days later, his office reached out to offer her a job, which she accepted. She says that while employed for the governor he repeatedly made degrading remarks and once had her bend over right in front of him to look something up on his computer.
Key excerpts from the report:

On Cuomo’s alleged pattern of inappropriate behavior toward Kaitlin:

During the year she worked at the Executive Chamber, the Governor: (1) instructed her to act like a “sponge” to soak up knowledge, then proceeded to call her by the name “sponge,” which she found to be embarrassing, condescending, and demeaning; (2) asked about how certain members of his senior staff, known as the “mean girls” were treating her; (3) commented on her appearance on a number of occasions, including saying that an outfit she wore made her look like a “lumberjack” and commenting on her not being “ready” for work if she was not wearing makeup or was not dressed nicely; and (4) on one occasion, asked her to look up car parts on eBay on his computer, which she had to bend over to do, while wearing a skirt and heels, as the Governor sat directly behind her in his office, which made her feel uncomfortable.

On Cuomo allegedly asking Kaitlin to bend over in front of him:

On another occasion, Kaitlin testified that the Governor called her into his office and asked her to search for car parts on eBay for him. She thought it was a strange request since she felt the Governor was capable and best situated to search for the car parts himself. She testified that she walked into the Governor’s office and stood at the Governor’s desk to conduct the searches on his computer as he requested. While she stood at the Governor’s desk, he sat in his chair “directly behind” her “backside[.]” There was a writing desk behind the Governor such that the two of them were between desks in close proximity. Kaitlin recalled feeling anxious because she was standing with her backside to the Governor in a skirt and heels, with him sitting close behind. She felt that the request for assistance was a pretext to be close to her and watch her from behind.

Was the allegation previously known? Yes.
Did Liss work for the state? Yes.
Summary of Liss’s allegations: Liss says that while working as a policy and operations aide for Cuomo from 2013 to 2015, she was subjected to unsolicited flirtation from the governor and other conduct she found demeaning.
Key excerpts from the report:

On Cuomo’s alleged misconduct toward Liss:

During the time that Ana Liss worked as an aide in the Executive Chamber from 2013 to 2015, the Governor: (1) addressed her almost exclusively as “sweetheart” or “darling”; (2) on occasion, kissed her on the cheeks and hand, touched and held her hands, and slid his hand around her lower waist; (3) commented on how she looked “lovely”; and (4) asked whether she had a boyfriend. Ms. Liss noted that these interactions were, in her view, inappropriate.

She did not complain about or raise these incidents while employed in the Executive Chamber because, she found, “[F]or whatever reason, in his office the rules were different. It was just, you should view it as a compliment if the Governor finds you aesthetically pleasing enough, if he finds you interesting enough to ask questions like that. And so even though it was strange and uncomfortable and technically not permissible in a typical workplace environment, I was in this mindset that it was the twilight zone and … the typical rules did not apply.”

Was the allegation previously known? No.
Did Employee No. 2 work for the state? Yes.
Summary of Employee No. 2’s allegations: Employee No. 2 performed a COVID-19 test on Cuomo during a March 2020 press conference, when she was a director at New York State’s Department of Health. She says that the governor made suggestive remarks to her both in private and in front of the press.
Key excerpts from the report:

On the incident:

As they were preparing for the press conference (outside the presence of the press), the Governor requested that State Entity Employee #2 not put the swab up his nose “so deep that you hit my brain.” State Entity Employee #2 replied that she would be “gentle but accurate” in conducting the swab test, to which the Governor responded, “[G]entle but accurate, I’ve heard that before.” State Entity Employee #2 felt that the Governor intended to convey a “joke of an implied sexual nature.”

Then, at the press conference, in front of the press and cameras, the Governor stated, “Nice to see you, Doctor—you make that gown look good.” State Entity Employee #2 found the Governor’s comments offensive and that they would not have been made to an accomplished physician who was a man.

Was the allegation previously known? Yes.
Did Ruch work for the state? No.
Summary of Ruch’s allegations: Ruch says that upon meeting Cuomo at a 2019 wedding for one of his senior aides, he touched her bare back. After she moved his hand away, he proceeded to cup her face in his hands and kiss her on the cheek.
Key excerpts from the report:

On Cuomo’s response after Ruch moved his hand from her back:

At that point, the Governor remarked, “Wow, you’re aggressive,” after which the Governor cupped her face in his hands and said, “can I kiss you?” Without waiting for a response, and as Ms. Ruch tried to move and turn her face away, the Governor kissed her left cheek. Pictures taken by Ms. Ruch’s friend captured the Governor’s kiss and Ms. Ruch’s uncomfortable reaction.

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