The US president, Joe Biden, has called for the resignation of Andrew Cuomo after Cuomo was implicated in a sexual harassment scandal. An independent inquiry carried out revealed that the New York governor harassed multiple women. It is not unusual for people of such high offices to be incriminated in cases of this nature, and this has been blamed on the authority they have over subordinates and other female workers. This form of abusing office is rated among the most’ inhuman acts’ against women who have been suffering physically, psychologically, and emotionally due to men’s actions. Thus the governor has been accused of a serious crime that might dissolve his integrity and dignity in all aspects of life.
Governor Cuomo was deemed guilty by the inquiry into accusations of sexual harassment laid against him. Several women aired out an outcry of abuse against Cuomo, which then prompted an investigation by the attorney general’s office last year. All the victims cited sexual misconduct, which is a stern issue, especially concerning a government official who holds such an important office expected to look after the public’s welfare. The US has constantly been battling issues related to the abuse of women by prominent figures like Bill Cosby incidents and R. Kelly’s cases. Many organizations and movements were triggered to stand up for sexual abuse or harassment victims at home and the workplace. The inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris sparked joy among females since women are being liberated to assume leadership roles as they continuously fight the patriarchal system.
The attorney general’s office revealed their findings pertaining to Cuomo’s conduct, and unfortunately, the governor was tainted by the evidence presented. The independent investigation lasted for about five months, showing the determination and dedication of investigators in unraveling all facts before concluding the case. During those months, investigators interviewed all the allegedly 179 victims, composed of staff members, workmates, and other people who had made similar complaints. Evidence acquired was in the form of thousands of documents, texts, and pictures, and this information was reviewed in the inquiry, and it all corroborate the allegations by 11 women. The attorney general Letitia James held a press conference this week on Tuesday where she read the findings of their investigation [Source].
In the address, she said, “The independent investigation has concluded that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and in doing so violated federal and state law.” According to her, they concluded “that the Governor sexually harassed a number of State employees through unwelcome and unwanted touching, as well as by making numerous offensive and sexually suggestive comments.” She alluded to how the women did not come forward fearing retaliation from the governor and described the workplace as an environment in which they were “rife with fear and intimidation. The 165-page public report of the findings was released to the public on Tuesday, and it is accessible on [Source].
The report alludes to 11 women who were sexually harassed, and they include employees and a New York State Trooper whose duty was to protect the governor [Source]. It gives a run-down of the incidents, which depicts the governor running his finger down on the neck of a state trooper while saying “hey you,” and in a later incident, he ran his open hand on her stomach while she held a door open for him to pass. The state trooper spoke about her re-assignment to become a protective detail for the governor, which Cuomo requested. Also, Cuomo is believed to have asked an aide for sex, and he attempted to touch the breast of another assistant. In an 11-hour interview carried out by investigators last month, Cuomo agreed to have kissed the state trooper but did not admit to touching her, and he also admitted to asking Bennet if she had ever been involved with older men. Other incidents are related to groping and kissing women as well as making them sit on his lap.
In some cases, governor Cuomo was sexually harassing the women with words by asking about their relationship status, their opinions in regards to cheating on their partners, and comments about women’s appearance in relation to their age. A co-leader investigator Joon Kim said, “It was a culture where you could not say no to the governor, and if you upset him or his senior staff, you’d be written off, cast aside or worse,” which means that he was abusing his powers for selfish gains.
“I think he should resign,” said president Biden while addressing reporters at the White House on Tuesday. He also highlighted how the legislature might decide to impeach him, and he condemned such an attitude of abusing power by officials in high offices. Cuomo can be impeached, and he is also facing a criminal probe from the Albany County District Attorney, who will request the investigative material from the attorney general’s probe. The probing was not acting like a criminal investigation but examining the allegations and trying to uncover evidence to prove Cuomo’s innocence or regard him as guilty.
Various politicians and government officials have aided the resignation of Cuomo, with Democrats chanting the same chorus. Carl Heastie, the assembly speaker who also controls the governor’s impeachment probe processes, did not have any kind words for this case and uttered pure displeasure while noting that these findings are sufficient to remove the governor from office and deem him unfit for those duties. He vowed to fast-track the impeachment process if it does go through. If Cuomo is removed, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will assume that role. The Lieutenant Governor described Cuomo’s behavior as “repulsive and unlawful.” Hochul further said, “Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace, and certainly not in public service,” and he commended the bravery of women who came forward by saying, “I believe these brave women and admire their courage coming forward.” Two New York Democratic senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, also argued that Cuomo must resign.
Governor Cuomo released a statement responding to the investigation and all the attorney general’s office findings. He urged the people to read his full 85-page statement to “understand all the facts.” In his defense, Cuomo showed pictures while hugging and kissing people who included his mother and president Biden trying to paint himself as socially welcoming. Exhibits incorporated in the statement depict him hugging or kissing both men and women of all ages. In encouraging people to go through his response, he said, “I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.” Cuomo went on to say, “I am 63 years old. I have lived my entire adult life in public view. That is just not who I am. And that’s not who I have ever been.”
Both the attorney general and Cuomo have brought forward their “form” of evidence which might need intense assessment and analysis if the criminal probe makes it to the US courts.
Governor Andrew Cuomo maintains his innocence and seems determined to fight the attorney general’s findings. Still, it will not be an easy battle for him to go against a compiled investigation of that magnitude with factual and provable material. More so, except for his legal team and close members, the governor lacks allies or any sympathizers, so he will be a lonely soldier going against ‘the system’ which is coming for his head.