Cuomo aide who says he groped her files criminal complaint

Washington, United States Published: Aug 06, 2021, 11:06 PM(IST)

Andrew Cuomo Photograph:( Reuters )

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Legal experts have said that Andrew Cuomo's conduct toward the assistant, as described in a 165-page report released by the New York state attorney general’s office this week, could be charged as forcible touching, a misdemeanor.

A woman who accused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of groping her breast in the Executive Mansion last year has filed a criminal complaint with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, the agency said Friday.

The criminal complaint from the woman, an executive assistant whose name has not been publicised, increases the possibility that the governor could face criminal charges related to his behavior.

Legal experts have said that his conduct toward the assistant, as described in a 165-page report released by the New York state attorney general’s office this week, could be charged as forcible touching, a misdemeanor.

Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, has repeatedly denied ever inappropriately touching the woman, or any of the others who have accused him of sexual misconduct. On Thursday, he said he would cooperate with the state Assembly’s request for information as it concludes its investigation into his conduct and prepares to draft articles of impeachment against him.

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The Albany County prosecutor, David Soares, is one of five prosecutors who have so far indicated that their offices are looking into the governor’s conduct after the report from Attorney General Letitia James found that he had sexually harassed 11 women.

The criminal complaint was reported by The New York Post.

The executive assistant told investigators that the governor had acted inappropriately toward her since 2019, kissing and hugging her in ways that she found uncomfortable. His advances toward her culminated in November in the episode at the mansion, in which he reached under her blouse and grabbed her breast, she told investigators.

The governor denied to investigators that he had touched her inappropriately.

The woman’s lawyer could not immediately be reached. A spokesman for the governor said Friday that the office had referred the assistant’s case to its office of employee relations months ago and again pointed toward the governor’s denial of her claim. A spokeswoman for the Albany district attorney declined to comment on the complaint, saying only that the investigation was “an ongoing matter that is under review.”

The woman told investigators that she had been summoned to the mansion, that the governor had pulled her in for a close hug and that, after she pulled away, he again advanced, slid his hand up her blouse and cupped her breast.

She initially did not report what had happened, she said, adding that she was “terrified” that she would lose her job.

But in March, after the governor denied in a news conference that he had ever touched anyone inappropriately, she told several other executive assistants, who then reported the incident to Judith L. Mogul and Beth Garvey, attorneys for the governor. The following day, The Times Union of Albany published an article about the allegation.

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