On Aug. 10, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he will resign, effective Aug. 24, in response to allegations that he sexually harassed at least 11 women while on the job. He is also accused of retaliation against people who complained about the harassment.
After the allegations were initially made, Cuomo refused to resign, saying he wasn’t going anywhere. At that point, the allegations were merely that – allegations made by several women. He chose to allow the state’s attorney general, Letitia James, to investigate those allegations. He deserved at least that much due process before giving up a lifelong political career that many had expected to culminate in the presidency.
Moreover, he blamed the allegations on “generational and cultural shifts” that made his attempts to hug and kiss women, call them “honey” and make sexual jokes passé.
“In my mind, I’ve never crossed the line with anyone,” he told reporters, “but I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn.”
The attorney general’s 168-page report determined that Cuomo had done more than merely flatter women or even kiss and cuddle them. It found that he had groped unwilling women, made suggestive comments to women in a work setting and then retaliating against at least one of his accusers. Ultimately, the report said that Cuomo and some of his aids had created a toxic and hostile workplace.
In fact, James’ report determined that Cuomo and some of his senior advisors were guilty of violating multiple state and federal laws. It was a civil investigation, however, and no criminal charges were filed.
Local prosecutors are considering charges, victims considering lawsuits
According to the Associated Press, prosecutors in several New York counties have said they will continue investigating whether Cuomo committed any crimes. These could range in severity from simple assault to sexual assault. Prosecutors from Manhattan, Albany County, Nassau County and Westchester County, New York, have requested evidence from the James report.
In addition, one of Cuomo’s accusers has filed a criminal complaint. She claims Cuomo groped her breast last November at the New York governor’s executive mansion in Albany. The Albany County Sheriff said that he will conduct a complete investigation.
Finally, at least one of the alleged victims has said she will file a sexual harassment lawsuit against Cuomo.
Cuomo says he’s ‘deeply, deeply’ sorry
Cuomo has apologized to all 11 women named in the investigation – “11 women who I truly offended.” However, he continues to deny the most serious accusations.
Immediately after Cuomo’s address announcing his resignation, his attorney Rita Glavin took her place beneath the governor’s seal and delivered a point-by-point rebuttal of each and every accusation.
He could still run for office again
Since his resignation appears to have derailed plans to impeach Cuomo, he is not barred from running for further office. As of mid-July, the Associated Press says, he had developed a campaign war chest of $18 million.
When a powerful person is credibly accused and resigns, should that be the end of it? Or do you think Andrew Cuomo should face criminal charges or lawsuits?