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Kissing, groping and more: Sexual harassment detailed in AG's Cuomo report

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Governor Andrew Cuomo during a COVID-19 pandemic press conference. (CNYCentral)

CNY Central has dug into the New York Attorney General's report on Governor Andrew Cuomo's sexual harassment details.

RELATED| Report: Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, broke laws

The nearly five-month investigation involved interviews with 179 people.

And a review of more than 74,000 pieces of documents, emails, texts, audio files and pictures.

RELATED| Gov. Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, probe finds

New York Attorney General Letitia James said, "These interviews and pieces of evidence reveal a deeply disturbing yet clear picture. Governor Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employees."

The AG said Cuomo engaged in unwelcome groping, kissing, hugging, and offensive and suggestive comments.

The governor's senior team also accused of retaliation against at least one former staffer who came forward.

"Governor Cuomo's administration fostered a toxic workplace that enabled harassment and created a hostile work environment where staffers did not feel comfortable coming forward with complaints about sexual harassment due to a climate of fear," said AG Letitia James.

The 165 page report also detailed for the first time allegations that Cuomo sexually harassed a female State Trooper on his security detail.

Stating he ran his hand or fingers across her stomach and back, kissed her on the cheek and he asked her why she didn't wear a dress. He also asked her for help finding a girlfriend.

MORE: 'I am the same person in public as I am in private...' Cuomo responds to AG' s report

Joon Kim, a United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York said, "Some suffered through unwanted touching and grabbing of their most intimate body parts. Others suffered through repeated offensive, sexually suggestive or gender-based comments. A number of them endured both."

The report highlights the “Governor’s sexually harassing conduct,” which investigators say were established during the course of their probe including findings with 11 women identified as Executive Assistant #1, Trooper #1, Charlotte Bennett, State Entity Employee #1, Virginia Limmiatis, an energy employee, Lindsey Boylan, Alyssa McGrath, Katilin, Ana Liss, State Entity Employee #2 and Anna Ruch.

The report details an encounter with “Executive Assistant #1” in November 2020.

“During another close hug Executive Assistant #1, (Cuomo) reached under her blouse and grabbed her breast. For over three months, Executive Assistant #1 kept this groping incident to herself and planned to take it “to the grave,” but found herself becoming emotional while watching the Governor state, at a press conference on March 3, 2021, that he had never “touched anyone inappropriately.” She then confided in certain of her colleagues, who in turn reported her allegations to senior staff in the Executive Chamber.

The report also details an encounter with “Trooper #1” in early November 2017. It found the governor sexually harassed her on a number of occasions by:

“running his hand across her stomach, from her belly button to her right hip, while she held a door open for him at an event; running his finger down her back, from the top of her neck down her spine to the middle of her back, saying ‘hey, you,’ while she was standing in front of him in an elevator; kissing her on the cheek in front of another Trooper and asking to kiss her on another occasion, which she deflected; asking her to help him find a girlfriend and describing his criteria for a girlfriend as someone who ‘can handle pain,” asking her why she wanted to get married when marriage means “your sex drive goes down,” and asking her why she did not wear a dress.”

The report also describes an encounter between the Governor and State Entity Employee #1 at an event in New York City in September 2019. While taking pictures together, the report says Cuomo:

“Put his hand on State Entity #1’s butt, tapped it twice, and then grabbed her butt.” State Entity Employee #1 was ‘shocked’ at the time, and discussed it with a number of friends, family and co-workers.’

Testifying before investigators, the Governor denied inappropriately touching Executive Assistant #1, Trooper #1, State Entity Employee #1, or Ms. Limmiatis in the way they described, and he generally denied touching anyone inappropriately. The Governor told investigators he often hugs and kisses people, mostly on the cheek and sometimes on the forehead. He admitted that he may have kissed certain staff members on the lips without remembering who. He testified that he had not kissed Executive Assistant #1 or Ms. Boylan. The Governor testified that he did regularly hug Executive Assistant #1, but claimed she was the “initiator of the hugs.”

In his testimony, the governor did not dispute that he sometimes commented on staff members’ appearance and attire, calling it “old fashioned,” saying he sometimes uses terms of endearment such as “honey,” “darling,” or “sweetheart.” He told investigators that he believed the complainants were motivated by politics, animosity or some other reason. Investigators found his denials to lack credibility.

Accusers started to come forward last winter.

One aid accused him of groping her breast.

Another, Lindsey Boylan, said Cuomo kissed her on the lips after a meeting in his office and would go out of his way to touch her lower back, arms and legs.

Another former aid, Charlotte Bennett, said Cuomo asked her if she was open to sex with an older man.

The New York Attorney General Special Investigator Anne Clark said "Conduct that is not just old fashioned affectionate behavior as he and some of his staff members would have it, but unlawful sex-based harassment."

Investigators said the culture inside the governor's office allowed the behavior to persist and the women who came forward are now exposing that.

"Their words so long silenced speak loudly for themselves," Kim said. "These brave women stepped forward to speak truth to power. And in doing so, they expressed faith in the belief that although the governor may be powerful, the truth is even more so."

The State Trooper's Union responded to these allegations that one of their own was a victim.

The Union's president said, "I'm outraged and disgusted that one of my members, who was tasked with guarding the governor and ensuring his safety, could not enjoy the same sense of security in her work environment that he was provided."

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