NY governor says he 'never touched anyone inappropriately'

By: AFP      Published: 09:08 PM, 3 Aug, 2021
NY governor says he 'never touched anyone inappropriately'

New York governor Andrew Cuomo denied multiple allegations of sexual harassment Tuesday, saying he "never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances."

"That is just not who I am. And that's not who I have ever been," he said in a television address, adding that he had published a response to the accusations on his website.

Cuomo spoke after the release of an explosive report by the New York attorney general's office that prompted immediate calls for his resignation.

He said he had a life-long habit of kissing and touching people as a gesture of warmth and friendship, often in public.

"You've seen me do it on TV through all my briefings and for 40 years before that," he said.

"I try to put people at ease. I try to make them smile. I try to connect with them and I try to show my appreciation and my friendship.

"I now understand that there are generational, or cultural perspectives, that frankly, I hadn't fully appreciated. And I have learned from this."

New York state's attorney general Letitia James said Tuesday that Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women as she announced the findings of an independent investigation into allegations against him.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo "sexually harassed multiple women," including employees, the state's attorney general Letitia James said Tuesday as she announced the findings of an independent investigation into allegations against the powerful Democrat.

"The independent investigation has concluded that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and in doing so violated federal and state law," James said at a news conference.

She said the investigation found that Cuomo "sexually harassed current and former New York state employees by engaging 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 found that Cuomo and his senior team took retaliatory action against at least one former employee for coming forward with her story, she said.

James said that evidence uncovered during the investigation would be made public, along with the report.

At least eight women -- former or current aides -- have come forward to denounce what they said were inappropriate words and gestures from Cuomo, who drew praise nationwide for his handling of the Covid-19 crisis in New York early in the pandemic.

One former employee said he slipped his hand under her blouse last year.

Cuomo denies engaging in sexual harassment and is refusing calls to resign that have come even from fellow New York Democrats and Democrats in the US Congress.

In March President Joe Biden said that if the accusations against Cuomo are proven he should resign.