DOJ Probe Holds Former NY Gov. Cuomo Responsible for a “Sexually Hostile Work Environment”

Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Cuomo

The Justice Department’s investigation revealed that former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo harassed at least 13 female staffers, creating a “sexually hostile work environment.” The nine-page settlement, agreed upon by Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office and the U.S. attorney’s office, stated that the department’s inquiry established that Cuomo made unwanted advances to the women. Further, it specified that Cuomo’s senior staff retaliated against four victims – a charge that raises new questions about Cuomo’s governance.

Key Takeaways:

– A Justice Department probe revealed that former NY Governor Andrew Cuomo created a “sexually hostile work environment.”
– Cuomo’s senior staff were aware of his conduct and retaliated against four of the victims, according to the settlement agreement.
– The nine-page settlement indicates that the Governor’s office under Kathy Hochul reached an agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office on the investigation results.
– Cuomo, who resigned disgracefully in August 2021, continues to deny all sexual harassment allegations against him.
– The settlement confirms policies implemented by Hochul since taking office and calls for further reform.

A Culture of Retaliation

The ordeal didn’t stop at the governor’s indiscretions. According to the settlement, Cuomo’s senior staff knew about his behavior and sought to fight back against those who accused him. “Indeed, the Executive Chamber’s response was designed only to protect Cuomo from further accusations, rather than to protect employees from sexual harassment,” said the settlement.

Proof of Repeated Misconduct

The settlement marks the latest episode unraveling Cuomo’s rampant sexual harassment while he was serving as the 56th governor of New York. Interestingly, these revelations emerge as Cuomo, a 66-year-old Democrat, is visibly re-entering public life and possibly considering another run for public office.

Legal Process and Investigation Timelines

The Justice Department launched the inquiry into Cuomo’s conduct in August 2021. This was the same month that state Attorney General Letitia James released a shocking investigation stating Cuomo had sexually harassed at least 11 women. The Justice Department completed its probe by November 2022.

Cuomo’s Response

Despite the intense sexual harassment allegations against him, Cuomo, who resigned in disgrace in August 2021, has consistently denied the claims. He cited a lack of criminal charges from five New York district attorneys investigations as proof of his alleged innocence. The prosecutors, though, found the allegations against Cuomo credible.

Reformation Under Gov. Hochul

The settlement agreement outlined that Kathy Hochul, who replaced Cuomo, has set up new policies to help prevent such incidents in the future. It recommended further measures, including expanding the Executive Chamber’s Human Resources Department and introducing anti-retaliation programs.

Hochul, whose relationship with Cuomo was notably strained, stated, “I knew when I replaced him that I needed to root out the culture of harassment that had previously plagued the Executive Chamber.” Hochul expressed gratitude toward the Justice Department for recognizing her efforts toward systemic change and looked forward to future cooperation to prevent such incidents.

Breon Peace, the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, commended Hochul’s “stated determination to prevent sexual harassment from recurring at the highest level of New York State government.” The steps taken by Gov. Hochul reflect a determination to learn from past incidents and foster a safer, more inclusive environment for all employees.