An assistant to Governor Andrew Cuomo who accused him of groping her inside the Executive Mansion has filed a complaint with the Albany County Sheriff, raising the possibility of criminal charges for the embattled governor.
The executive assistant told investigators for the New York Attorney General that Cuomo repeatedly harassed her, culminating in an incident in which the governor reached under her blouse and grabbed her breast in November of last year.
The woman, who is still employed by the state, filed a criminal complaint about the alleged sexual assault on Thursday afternoon, according to a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office. It comes two days after the Attorney General’s report detailed a pattern of sexual misconduct by Cuomo, and is believe to be the first criminal complaint brought by one of the governor’s alleged victims.
Following the release of the report, five prosecutors in New York — in Manhattan, Nassau County, Westchester, Oswego, and Albany — have indicated that they are looking into potential unlawful behavior by the governor.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple told the Post, which first reported the story, that it’s possible Cuomo could face arrest. “The end result could either be it sounds substantiated and an arrest is made and it would be up to the DA to prosecute the arrest,” he said. “Just because of who it is we are not going to rush it or delay it.”
The governor has denied touching any woman inappropriately, and has said that he would welcome legal action from the executive assistant. Rich Azzopardi, a spokesperson for Cuomo, said that the Governor’s Office “proactively” referred the alleged groping incident to authorities nearly four months ago, “in accordance with state policies.”
In her testimony to investigators, the executive assistant alleged that Cuomo repeatedly grabbed her butt during hugs and kissed her on the lips on at least one occasion. Last November, she said, Cuomo pulled her in for a close hug, then cupped her breast.
“I knew what just went on,” she testified. “I knew and he knew too that that was wrong. And that I, in no way, shape or form, invited that nor did I ask for it.”
She said she did not report the incident to her supervisors for fear that she would face retaliation — and had planned to take it “to the grave,” until hearing Cuomo claim at a press conference that he had never touched anyone inappropriately.
Investigators said that the woman’s account was credible, while Cuomo’s “denials lacked persuasiveness.”
A lawyer for the woman could not be reached for comment.
A previous version of this story referred to the woman as a former executive assistant. She remains employed by the state, according to the Attorney General, though it’s unclear in what capacity.