We try not to get political in this blog. We don’t care if you are a Trumper or a Biden supporter. Alt-Right or Green Party. It doesn’t matter. Sexual harassment is wrong and shouldn’t be tolerated in a civilized society. Until the #MeToo movement, however, it was rare to see media moguls, billionaires and power political figures held accountable. There was always a double standard.
The resignation of New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo shows that no one is above the law. Last week New York’s three time governor resigned amid a slew of sexual harassment allegations. It is about time.
Cuomo showed no sign of leaving. He was defiant right up ‘til the bitter end. Only after New York Attorney General Letitia James released a damning report implicating Cuomo in rampant misconduct did Cuomo leave.
On August 3rd, James issued a report highly critical of Governor Cuomo. The report detailed the findings of an independent investigation. Among the major findings:
- NYS Governor sexually harassed multiple women from 2013 through 2020
- Sexual harassment included unwanted and inappropriate groping, kissing, hugging, and comments that accusers called deeply humiliating, uncomfortable, offensive, or inappropriate
- Executive chamber rife with fear and intimidation, enabled harassment to occur and created a hostile work environment.
Governor Cuomo cooperated with the investigators but was criticized for his lack of recollection. The report also said he engaged in “retaliatory” behavior by “intending to discredit and disparage” a former employee that came forward with her story of harassment.
Ultimately, the Attorney General decided there was not enough to pursue criminal charges but still found that he committed multiple violations of sexual harassment laws.
Based on the dozens of exhibits we have reviewed, Attorney General Letitia James made the correct decision. Simply because there are no criminal charges, however, doesn’t mean the allegations of misconduct aren’t serious.
We reviewed one email exchange between staff members in which the parties wrote:
Staffer 1: “Oh my God are you in the office. Oh my fucking God”
Staffer 2: “Yes like shaking”
Staffer 1: “Charlotte you need to leave. You need to get out right fucking now. I know it feels like you can’t but even just say you’re taking a walk.”
Staffer2: “I’m so upset and confused. Fuck you’re right.”
Staffer 1: Please try to leave. Say you’re getting a coffee or calling your mom…”
According to the report, this text conversation comes after the governor made explicit comments to his staffer while at work. It’s clear from the texts just how upsetting the comments were. No employee should have to work in that type of environment.
Gov. Cuomo Resigns
One week after the report was issued, Cuomo announced his resignation. While we applaud his decision to resign, he still accepts no responsibility for his actions. The New York Post said it best, “He blamed a hot political environment. He blamed his enemies. He blamed Twitter. He claimed holding men to account was unsustainable for society.” In short, he blamed everyone but himself.
No One Is Above the Law
Harvey Weinstein. Jeffrey Epstein. And now, Andrew Cuomo. It doesn’t matter how powerful or rich you are, no one is above the law. We published our story today to remind victims of sexual harassment that now more than ever, victims voices are being heard. Too often we hear women tell us they never reported their boss because they thought he was “too powerful.”
If you want to learn more about sexual harassment, please visit our sexual harassment FAQ page. Ready to see if you have a case? Our team and network of experienced sexual harassment lawyers are ready to answer your questions and help you get justice. To learn more, please contact us online, by email [hidden email] or by phone 877-858-8018. All inquiries are kept strictly confidential.