New York governor Andrew Cuomo resigns amid intense sexual assault allegations propagated by various women. The ‘now’ former governor was implicated in many cases of sexually assaulting women physically and verbally. He was accused of abusing power given to him by his high office and was violating workplace conduct by mistreating female subordinates who came in close contact with him. In the previous months, the governor was being investigated in relation to all these allegations, and the case caught attention from various organizations which stand up for women’s rights. The country is constantly facing such challenges, and women are fighting hard to stop all forms of abuse from the patriarchal system.
The attorney general’s office carried out an independent inquiry, and the findings were presented to the public. The investigation found Mr. Cuomo guilty of all the allegations laid against him. Attorney general Letitia James held a press conference last week and read the inquiry findings to the public. She said, “The independent investigation has concluded that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and in doing so violated federal and state law” [Source]. The magnitude of the case became serious after it was revealed that Cuomo had assaulted about 200 victims, and investigators were able to interview 179 victims who all confirmed that Cuomo was guilty.
The investigation was packaged in a 165-page public report and released on online forums. Several government officials called for Cuomo’s resignation. Even the US president Joe Biden said, “I think he should resign,” and that idea was chanted nationwide by prominent politicians. In his defense, Cuomo released an 85-page statement explaining his side of the story and painting the whole investigation as a ‘witch hunt’ against him by certain government officials wishing to end his career. He concluded by vowing to stay in office and tackling his enemies in the courts if it comes to that.
However, it seems like he has thrown in the towel after pressure for him to resign kept on piling. With an impeachment brewing and a criminal investigation by the Albany County District Attorney in the works, Cuomo was facing jabs from all sides. He did not have any sympathizers defending him, so he chose to exit the office. In a twenty-minute address, Cuomo said, “The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let the government get back to government.” [Source].
In his recorded resignation address [Source], Cuomo uttered how the government spent a lot of time and money on trivial matters such as investigating him. He explained that such’ time and money should be used in fighting the Delta variant, gun violence, saving New York, other than focusing on distractions. He expressed his love for New York and the residents and highlighted that all his efforts ensured that his city is in a good state. Cuomo served his third term in office and has left office with a shattered record from these allegations.
Soon after his address, New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio commented on his Twitter account, saying, “Make no mistake, this is the result of survivors bravely telling their stories. It was past time for Andrew Cuomo to resign, and it’s for the good of all New York.” [Source].
American comedian Stephen Tyrone Colbert did not have any kind words toward Cuomo’s resignation as he said, “Don’t let the door hit you on the butt on the way out. But if it does, that door should also resign” [Source].
At a press conference today, US president Joe Biden calls this a sad event that was inevitable. He suggested that women should be believed when they make allegations and necessary investigations carried out to determine whether a person is innocent or guilty. When questioned about Cuomo’s performance in the office outside of his personal life, the president said, “He has done a hell of a job” [Source]. Deputy Governor Kathy Hochul said, “I agree with Governor Cuomo’s decision to step down. It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers.”
The 11 women who came forward with their testimonies in courts against Cuomo were applauded by many people, including prominent government officials. The White House Press Secretary, Jen Paski, commended the women by saying, “This is a story about courageous women who told their stories.”
The women spoke about their fears of coming forward earlier because the governor was a powerful man, and one would not dare to put their job on the line. Also, such power figures tend to appear as if they can manipulate the law to their side, so trying to tackle them in court might be fruitless. But eventually, they were persuaded by different factors to stand up for themselves and report the abuse they faced.
Attorney general Letitia James described the governor’s resignation as an end to a “sad chapter” and called it an “important step towards justice.” Her office invested a lot of resources in investigating him while tracing all the victims, recording their testimonies, and drafting the findings in a comprehensive document. Thus, she can finally say that her sweat has been rewarded as the goal is accomplished.
Cuomo’s decision to step down has sparked joy among the citizens and politicians, especially New Yorkers who despised him for making their city a subject for ridicule. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins also released a statement via her Twitter account in which she laments this occurrence [Source]. She said, “Today is a somber day for the state of New York, but one that demonstrates our ability to build a more accountable system of government.”
From an observer’s perspective, it seems like Cuomo has gifted the country by leaving office and granted the wish for everyone who felt offended by his actions. Cuomo continues to deny the allegations and maintains his innocence.
Kathy Hochul is expected to take office as New York’s first female governor, and to some people, this will be a perfect conclusion to have a women assume office from an individual who was sexually assaulting women.