by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
New York Attorney General Letitia James has released a damning 165-page report on the multiple women who have come forward — some publicly, some confidentially to investigators — to accuse Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment in the workplace. Eleven women’s stories are examined in detail, and they hang together.
The easy conclusion from reading the report is to say, as many in Cuomo’s own party have said, that Cuomo ought to resign his office. That what we’ve heard from, among others, the president and the senior senator from New York, and it is a good first step. But Cuomo is defiant, which raises the question: What will Democrats do to make him go away?
James’s report was compiled with relentless thoroughness by a team of outside lawyers headed by a veteran federal prosecutor and an experienced sexual-harassment lawyer. The picture painted by the report shows a powerful man who put pervasive pressure on younger women in his orbit: groping their breasts and rear ends, kissing them (sometimes on the mouth), asking about their sex lives and willingness to date an older man, even arranging the transfer of a female state trooper to his protective detail before harassing her. He told the trooper that his criteria for a girlfriend is someone who “can handle pain,” which seems an epic understatement.
This goes well beyond the occasional stray comment or the touchy-feely overzealousness of a backslapping politician. It is a grotesque abuse of power.
Most of the incidents in the report took place in the past five years of Cuomo’s tenure as governor, so judging Cuomo’s behavior involves neither reliance upon long-faded memories nor the evaluation of acts decades in the past when social standards were different or the offender was very young.