Cuomo attempted cover-up of sex-harass claims: probers

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his staff tried to cowl up the sex-harassment allegations towards him by ignoring reporting procedures — whereas he personally plotted to “discredit and disparage” an accuser, probers said Tuesday.

The “general tradition” inside the administration not solely allowed the illicit habits — however fueled it, too, mentioned investigators with state Lawyer Basic Letitia James’ workplace of their scathing report.

“We conclude that the Government Chamber didn’t comply with its personal insurance policies and procedures associated to sexual harassment in responding to a number of of the complaints,” mentioned the explosive 168-page doc.

“These failures by the Government Chamber when allegations of harassment doubtlessly implicated the Governor, in our view, had been a symptom of an general tradition that allowed the Governor’s harassing habits to happen and enabled it to proceed,” the report mentioned.

The probers cited the case of former executive staffer Charlotte Bennett.

They alleged that Cuomo’s high aides — counsel Judith Mogul, Secretary Melissa DeRosa and former Chief of Workers Jill Des Rosiers — dragged their toes on reporting Bennett’s complaints to the Governor’s Workplace of Worker Relations, which the staffers had been imagined to have instantly executed below state legislation.

The dearth of a fast official probe into Bennett’s allegations — as nicely the embattled administration’s dealing with of a number of different accusations towards the governor — amounted to a cover-up, the scathing report mentioned.

According to the probe, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his office tried to cover-up sexual harassment allegations made against him.
In keeping with the probe, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his workplace tried to cover-up sexual harassment allegations made towards him.
Workplace of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo/Handout by way of REUTERS

The trio of aides had screened Bennett’s preliminary grievance, which was that Cuomo’s flirtatious habits towards her made her uncomfortable — and that he was “grooming” her for intercourse, the doc mentioned. The staffers then had her transferred to a different place, the place she would not should work together with the governor.

The report mentioned it was “incorrect” for the highest staffers to conclude Bennett’s grievance about Cuomo’s alleged pervy habits didn’t represent sexual harassment that warranted a proper grievance to be filed with the Governor’s Workplace of Worker Relations.

“It’s not a good studying of the Government Chamber coverage that counsel or any supervisor to whom allegations are reported ought to serve a screening position in the best way that Ms. Mogul, Ms. DesRosiers, Ms. DeRosa, and others did,” the stinging report mentioned.

“The Government Order and the coverage make it obligatory for [the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations] to analyze all allegations of a sexually harassing nature. The Government Chamber’s coverage requirement that GOER be concerned in problems with potential sexual harassment is designed to keep away from precisely what occurred with respect to Ms. Bennett.”

The probe claims that Gov. Cuomo's office didn't properly handle the sexual harassment complaints made by former staffer Charlotte Bennett.
The probe claims that Gov. Cuomo’s workplace didn’t correctly deal with the sexual harassment complaints made by former staffer Charlotte Bennett.

In the meantime Cuomo himself was concerned within the soiled work of a smear marketing campaign towards Lindsey Boylan, a former high aide within the state’s Financial Growth Workplace, in accordance with the official report.

“Governor Cuomo, himself, and the Government Chamber engaged in ‘retaliatory habits’ by ‘intend[ing] to discredit and disparage’ a former worker that got here ahead along with her story of harassment,” the report mentioned.

Earlier this 12 months, Boylan, 37, revealed a web-based essay wherein she accused Cuomo, 63, of repeatedly harassing her, resulting in a flood of comparable allegations from present and former aides. She beforehand tweeted that Cuomo sexually harassed her.

Boylan later mentioned Cuomo as soon as boorishly joked that he would “mount” her if he had been a canine.

Cuomo has denied that declare — and others involving his alleged harassment.

However the report mentioned not solely did he sexually harass a number of girls, his administration broke a number of legal guidelines in its smear marketing campaign towards Boylan.

“When Ms. Boylan alleged in December 2020 that the Governor had sexually harassed her, the Government Chamber responded by, amongst different issues, releasing to the press confidential information referring to complaints made towards Ms. Boylan,” probers wrote.

“The investigation discovered that Governor Cuomo’s sexual harassment of a number of girls and his and the Government Chamber’s retaliation towards a former worker for coming ahead along with her claims of sexual harassment violated a number of state and federal legal guidelines, together with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the New York State Human Rights Legislation, and 42 U.S. Code § 1983, along with the Government Chamber’s personal equal employment insurance policies,” the report mentioned.

The doc additionally discovered that Cuomo and his staff had drafted a letter geared toward smearing Boylan and circulated it to a lot of present and former members of the Government Chamber for his or her consideration. The missive was not launched.

Cuomo himself personally hand-wrote the primary draft of a proposed letter attacking Boylan, his aides instructed the AG investigators.

“Following Ms. Boylan’s tweet alleging sexual harassment towards the Governor,
starting round December 15, 2020, the Governor and a bunch of advisors labored on a draft letter or op-ed,” the report mentioned.

“The letter was to be despatched by former Government Chamber employees members who had labored with Ms. Boylan and the Governor. The assorted drafts of this letter included complaints towards Ms. Boylan that had been a part of the Confidential Information. The drafts additionally mentioned alleged interactions between Ms. Boylan and male colleagues aside from the Governor.”

The draft letter even tied Boylan to former Republican President Donald Trump.

“The letter denied the legitimacy of Ms. Boylan’s allegations, impugned her credibility, and attacked her claims as politically motivated (together with with theories about connections with supporters of President Trump and a politician with an alleged curiosity in operating for Governor),” the report mentioned.

The probe found that Gov. Cuomo and his office engaged in "retaliatory behavior" after Lindsey Boylan accused him of sexual harassment.
The probe discovered that Gov. Cuomo and his workplace engaged in “retaliatory habits” after Lindsey Boylan accused him of sexual harassment.
AP Picture/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, File

Investigators mentioned Stephanie Benton, the governor’s govt secretary, and DeRosa testified that “the Governor wrote the primary draft of the letter by hand and that Ms. Benton typed it up.”

In keeping with the report, Cuomo testified that he didn’t “bear in mind handwriting any doc” however he “participated in drafts.”

Cuomo mentioned he didn’t know if he began the letter or if “another person began it after which [he] chimed in,” the investigators mentioned.

In an 85-page response to the AG’s report, Cuomo lawyer Rita Glavin mentioned, ” The Governor has repeatedly made clear—together with in his sworn testimony—that he by no means
made any inappropriate sexual advances to anybody nor inappropriately touched anybody in a sexual method.

“The Governor understands that Ms. Bennett took his feedback and conversations along with her to imply one thing else. He by no means meant to make Ms. Bennett really feel uncomfortable or recommend something untoward in what he thought was a paternalistic and mentoring relationship. Removed from it,” Glavin mentioned.

“He’s deeply saddened that his efforts to assist her have now appeared to harm her,” the lawyer wrote.

“The Governor did relate to Ms. Bennett by way of his expertise along with his member of the family who was additionally a sufferer of sexual assault, which is why he engaged along with her within the ways in which he did. Looking back, he understands that he shouldn’t have engaged in such private discussions along with her even when his intent was to be useful and got here from a spot of compassion and concern.”

Glavin mentioned Boylan, a former high official on the Empire State Growth company, was an issue worker who subordinates had complained was a “bully” who “treats them like youngsters” and was unprofessional.

The Cuomo lawyer additionally advised that Boylan’s harassment complaints towards Cuomo had been politically motivated. Boylan leveled the accusations whereas she was operating within the Democratic main for borough president — and used them to “entice voter help,” Glavin mentioned.

“Ms. Boylan’s agenda and motivations are apparent,” Glavin mentioned. | Cuomo tried cover-up of sex-harass claims: probers

Huynh Nguyen

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