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Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed a female state trooper on his detail, AG investigation finds.
Cuomo touched her on multiple occasions and asked questions like why she wasn't wearing a dress, according to the AG's report.
The investigation led by the New York AG's investigation found Cuomo harassed 11 women.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed a female state trooper on his personal detail, an investigation by independent investigators working under the New York Attorney General's office found.
In all, investigation concluded that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, both staff members and officials in his administration and members of the public, "in violation of state and federal law." The report corroborated several allegations that had been lodged in the public domain, and brought to light the allegations of inappropriate touching from the trooper for the first time.
Cuomo first met the trooper, identified as "Trooper #1" in the report, at an event at the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge in 2017, and then requested that she be added to his protection service unit (PSU) detail despite her not meeting the minimum qualifications for service on the unit at the time, the report said.
The report said that during her service on his detail, Cuomo:
Ran his hand over her stomach from her chest to her belly button while she was holding the door open for him at an event. "I felt...completely violated because to me...that's between my chest and my privates," the trooper told investigators about the episode, "But, you know, I'm here to do a job."
Ran his hand down her spine in an elevator while saying "hey, you."
Kissed her on the cheek, in front of another trooper in 2019. "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," the trooper recalled.
The trooper said Cuomo asked to kiss her again on a separate occasion, telling investigators she rebuffed Cuomo by telling him she was sick.
Tried to enlist her in his quest to find a girlfriend, including saying that a requirement for dating him was being able to "handle pain."
Made harassing and inappropriate comments, including once asking her why she wasn't wearing a dress on the job, also in the presence of the PSU's detail commander, and, on another occasion, inquiring as to why she would want to get married when marriage makes "your sex drive goes down."
The New York State Police Investigators Association called the findings on Cuomo's harassment towards the trooper "completely unacceptable and utterly disgraceful."
"The men and women assigned to protect the Governor do so at significant personal sacrifice; however, they do so for the public good," the organization said in a statement. "Today we learned that while they were protecting the governor, someone should have been protecting them from him."
The day after the trooper first met Cuomo at the RFK Bridge in 2017, the report said, she was told that the governor wanted her on his detail "tomorrow." She subsequently learned that the minimum requirement for a trooper to serve three years before being eligible to serve on the PSU had been lowered to two specifically for her.
"Ha ha, they changed the minimum from 3 years to 2. Just for you," a PSU supervisor identified as Senior Investigator #1 told her.
Cuomo told investigators probing the sexual harassment allegations and specifically Trooper #1's hiring that he "was on constant alert to recruit more women, Blacks, and Asians to the state police detail."
The report also detailed how Cuomo's office misled the Albany Times Union about the circumstances of Trooper #1's hiring, with top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa accusing the paper's editor of sexism in inquiring whether Cuomo had a direct hand in Trooper #1's selection.
Many of the incidents where she was touched inappropriately were corroborated by her colleagues, both witnessed in real-time by other troopers and discussed among PSU members immediately afterward. The trooper said that she was reluctant to come forward both out of fear of reprisal and because Cuomo's behavior was enabled by her fellow troopers who didn't push back.
"[F]rom my point of view, I'm a trooper, newly assigned to the travel team. Do I want to make waves? No. And also, in the back of my mind, you know, [Detail Commander] had already previously witnessed me being asked why I don't wear a dress," she said. "So if the detail commander is basically okay with that behavior, you know, [Detail Commander] never even checked on me or even said anything to me after that, other than stays in truck, don't repeat."
The attorney general's report confirms the accounts of Cuomo accusers and of former Cuomo aides who told outlets including The Times, New York Magazine, and the Washington Post, that Cuomo cultivated a toxic and hostile work environment where female employees were demeaned, reduced down to their appearances, and pitted against each other in competition.
The trooper, like other Cuomo victims, feared for retaliation if she spoke out or tried to push back against the behavior, telling investigators she "heard horror stories about people getting kicked off the detail or transferred over like little things," adding that the governor was "very vindictive."
She said she was advised to "always have an answer, don't tell him no and whatever he wants, make it happen."
Read the original article on Business Insider