Andrew Cuomo sexual harassment: the key testimony from the report

Months after New York governor Andrew Cuomo denied multiple allegations of sexual harassment, the New York attorney general’s office released a 165-page report on Tuesday that corroborates the allegations that made public over the last year.

The report details the allegations from 11 women. The investigators interviewed 179 witnesses, 41 of whom testified under oath, and obtained “thousands” of documents as evidence.

Nine of the 11 women are current or former employees of the state government. Many share similar stories of fielding inappropriate questions from the governor and being subject to unwanted touching in his presence.

While the report included testimony from women who had brief, unsettling encounters with the governor, investigators also talked to women who endured years of unwanted behavior while working under the governor.

Below are their key accounts, which investigators say have been corroborated by interviews with witnesses and documents.

Boylan, a former executive at the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) and deputy secretary for economic development, was the first woman to come out with allegations against Cuomo in December.

The report said investigators were able to corroborate Boylan’s public allegations that she experienced multiple incidents of inappropriate touching and comments while working with Cuomo. Boylan joined the ESD in 2015 and climbed the ranks of the agency until she resigned in 2018.

According to the report, Cuomo frequently commented on Boylan’s appearances and casually touched her waist, legs and back. Cuomo told Boylan she looked like a former girlfriend and sometimes called her by that girlfriend’s name.

Boylan described an incident where, after a one-on-one meeting with the governor, she walked by him to leave and he stepped toward her and kissed her on the lips. The incidents were “deeply humiliating”, Boylan told investigators.

“I think a lot of people are like: of course this happened to young women who have no power. Well, I was really senior, and I had worked my whole life to get to a point where I would be taken seriously, and I wasn’t being taken seriously,” she said. “I worked so hard to be a doll for the governor of New York.”

The report also described retaliation against Boylan from the governor’s office, including leaking to the press confidential internal documents that negatively portrayed Boylan as a bad employee. The governor and his office also circulated among employees an op-ed that was ultimately not published that disparaged Boylan.

Bennett, who worked for Cuomo as an executive assistant until last fall, was the second woman who went public with allegations against the governor in February. Like Boylan’s allegations, investigators said in the report that they were able to corroborate the accusations Bennett had made public in the spring.

Bennett described multiple inappropriate comments Cuomo made to her while she was employed by his office. Initially, she described seeing Cuomo as a father figure but later saw their interactions as inappropriate as he started asking her personal questions and making uncomfortable comments.

She described a series of conversations that took place over two days in January last year. Cuomo complained to Bennett about how long it had been since he hugged anyone. Bennett said that she told Cuomo that he could hug his daughters, but he said “not like that – like a real hug”. He then said he was lonely and wanted a girlfriend.

The governor also asked Bennett if she had ever been with older men and whether she thought age was significant in relationships. The governor told Bennett – who was 25 at the time – that he would have a relationship with someone who was “22 and up”.

Bennett described feeling “really uncomfortable” but also described trying not to upset the governor.

A current aide to the governor, whose name has not been publicly released and who is referred to as “executive assistant no 1” in the report, told investigators of multiple incidents when Cuomo inappropriately touched her, along with comments and jokes he made about her personal life and relationships.

She described several incidents when the governor touched her, including close hugs where Cuomo would run his hands up and down her back. After the governor asked to take a selfie with her in December 2019, she felt Cuomo grab her butt and rub it. In November, after a hug, the governor slid his hand up her blouse and groped her breast.

The assistant said that the touching made her stressed and nervous to be around the governor, causing her physical reactions like hives on her neck. She told investigators that she believes the governor knew that she was nervous and was emboldened by it.

The assistant said that she originally planned to take the groping incident “to the grave” but became emotional after Cuomo said at a press conference in March that he had never “touched anyone inappropriately”.

The report included two incidents that had not previously been reported. One involved an anonymous employee at the state’s health department who said Cuomo made sexually suggestive comments while she was performing a live Covid-19 nasal test on the governor.

The second involves another anonymous employee, referred to as “trooper no 1” in the report, who, after first meeting Cuomo, was hired to join the state’s Protective Services Unit.

The trooper, who has been with the PSU since 2018, described multiple incidents when Cuomo touched her or made inappropriate comments.

During the summer of 2019, Cuomo approached the trooper and kissed her on the cheek, she said.

Cuomo also discussed age differences in relationship with the trooper. He asked the trooper, who was in her late 20s, how old she was, and responded: “You’re too old for me.”

The governor met Kaitlin, whose last name has not been made public, at a fundraiser event that was hosted by the lobbying firm she was working for at the time, the report says. At the event, she introduced herself to the governor, who ended up pulling her into a “dance pose” for a photograph and told her that he was going to have her work for the state.

Nine days later, Kaitlin received a voice message from the governor’s office inviting her to apply to a job, at the governor’s request. She told investigators she did not share her information with the governor’s office at the fundraising event nor did she express interest in a job to him or his staff at the event. She said the opportunity was presented to her because of her appearance.

Kaitlin took the job at the governor’s office, where Cuomo would frequently make comments about her appearance and the appearance of other women. He would comment on her makeup or clothing.

In one incident, Cuomo called Kaitlin into his office and asked her to look for car parts for him on eBay. She described feeling uncomfortable bending down to use his computer as she was in a dress and heels and Cuomo was directly behind her.

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