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Governor Andrew Cuomo Is Officially Resigning

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that he will resign from office after an independent investigation determined that he sexually harassed multiple women. Once Cuomo’s resignation goes into effect in 14 days, he will be replaced by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who will become New York’s first female governor, as The New York Times reported.

Many Democratic officials, including President Joe Biden, had called on Cuomo to resign, saying he could no longer effectively lead the state. 

According to a report released by New York state attorney general Letitia James, the high-profile Democrat helped foster a culture of sexual harassment, fear, intimidation, and a lack of accountability.

In their report, investigators wrote that “the Governor engaged in conduct constituting sexual harassment under federal and New York State law. Specifically, we find that the Governor sexually harassed a number of current and former New York State employees by, among other things, engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching, as well as making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women.”

“Our investigation revealed that the Governor’s sexually harassing behavior was not limited to members of his own staff, but extended to other State employees, including a State Trooper on his protective detail and members of the public,” investigators shared at an August 3 press conference. “We also conclude that the Executive Chamber’s culture — one filled with fear and intimidation, while at the same time normalizing the Governor’s frequent flirtations and gender-based comments — contributed to the conditions that allowed the sexual harassment to occur and persist. That culture also influenced the improper and inadequate ways in which the Executive Chamber has responded to allegations of harassment.”

In total, the report documents allegations from 11 people, 9 of them current or former state employees and two others. Several names have already been publicly reported, such as Lindsay Boylan and Charlotte Bennett. Other people, their identities still publicly withheld, detailed their own experiences, including a doctor who said the governor made an inappropriate sexual joke before a press conference where she was going to give him a COVID-19 nasal swab test and then commented on her appearance during the event.

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Comments about appearances and fashion choices are mentioned frequently in the report, like the woman Cuomo compared to a “lumberjack” or an executive assistant who said the governor commented on her necklace after she looked up to find him staring down her shirt.

“[F]or whatever reason, in his office the rules were different,” said one woman who had her appearance praised and was touched by the governor. “It was just, you should view it as a compliment if the governor finds you aesthetically pleasing enough, if he finds you interesting enough to ask questions like that. And so even though it was strange and uncomfortable and technically not permissible in a typical workplace environment, I was in this mindset that it was the twilight zone and . . . the typical rules did not apply.”

The big takeaways are damning. Not only did the report find that Cuomo demonstrated a pattern of behaving inappropriately with people inside and outside the state government, but investigators also said the people around him failed to adhere to internal protocols for handling these situations, unlawfully retaliated against one complainant, and generally created a culture of secrecy, loyalty, and fear.

“We reach the conclusion 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,” investigators wrote. “We also conclude that such behavior by the Governor was part of a pattern that extended to his interactions with women outside of State government, and was enabled and facilitated by a culture within the Executive Chamber of secrecy, loyalty to the Governor, and fear, as well as the normalization of inappropriate comments and interactions by the Governor. Finally, we conclude that the Executive Chamber’s response to a number of the sexual harassment allegations violated its internal policies and that its response to one complainant’s sexual harassment allegation constituted unlawful retaliation.”

Cuomo apologized not long after the scandal first broke but refused to resign, as NPR reported at the time. As the New York Times reported, Cuomo had displayed confidence this summer that investigators would find no wrongdoing. In a video announcement on Tuesday afternoon, Cuomo denied inappropriate physical contact or conversations and pointed people to responses to the allegations his attorney had prepared.

As CBS News reported, this investigation was a civil matter, but investigator Anne Clark noted that federal or state prosecutors can review the report’s allegations, one of which was referred to Albany police.

The news also reminded many of what Biden said in March, when he told ABC News that Cuomo should resign if the investigation found he had committed sexual harassment, and added, “I think he’ll probably end up being prosecuted too.”

Governor Cuomo is also under investigation for a scandal involving nursing home deaths and questions about his recent book deal.

Want more from Teen Vogue? Check this out: Andrew Cuomo Accused of Sexual Harassment by Former Staffers

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