New York governor sexually harassed multiple women, finds inquiry; Joe Biden calls for resignation
United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have also called for Andrew Cuomo’s resignation.
United States President Joe Biden on Tuesday asked New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign after an investigation found that he had sexually harassed nearly a dozen women and also specifically targeted one of his accusers, AFP reported.
“I think he should resign,” Biden said at a media briefing after a reporter reminded the president of his earlier statement that he would ask Cuomo to submit his resignation if the allegations were confirmed.
Both Biden and Cuomo are members of the Democratic Party.
A non-criminal investigation, overseen by New York’s attorney general, concluded that 11 women employees, some of whom are working with the state government, were telling the truth when they said Cuomo had touched them inappropriately, commented on their appearance or made suggestive remarks about their sex lives, AP reported.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said Cuomo engaged “in unwelcome and non-consensual touching and making numerous comments of a suggestive sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women”.
The investigation also concluded that Cuomo and his senior team took retaliatory action against at least one former employee for coming forward with her story.
The investigators said that at least one formal report had been filed with the police about Cuomo’s behaviour, and that their findings could be used in any criminal investigation. The women involved could also decide if they want to file a lawsuit against Cuomo, they added.
Following the announcement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand – all leaders of the Democratic Party – called for his resignation.
“As we have said before, the reported actions of the governor were profoundly disturbing, inappropriate and completely unacceptable,” CNN quoted a statement by Schumer and Kirsten as saying. “Today’s report from the New York State Attorney General substantiated and corroborated the allegations of the brave women who came forward to share their stories – and we commend the women for doing so.”
Multiple women have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment and assault. The allegations ranged from inappropriate comments to forced kisses and groping.
Cuomo, in a taped response, said that “the facts are much different than what has been portrayed” and that he “never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances”. He also alleged that the investigation itself was fuelled by politics and bias.
He said in a telephone conversation with Speaker of the New York Assembly Carl Heastie that he would not quit, AP reported.