On August 10, 2021, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned from public office after an investigation conducted by the Attorney General of New York which had found that he had sexually harassed 11 women.
But how did it get to this point? How did the man hailed for his daily press briefings and strong leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic have such a speedy fall from grace?
Dec. 13, 2020
Former staffer Lindsey Boylan steps forward to accuse Cuomo of years of sexual harassment. Via a twitter post, Boylan alleged that she would repeatedly “be grilled on [her] work (which was very good) or harassed about [her] looks” and claims that this went on “for years”. Cuomo’s administration dismissed this allegation, calling it “simply not true,” hoping that the news cycle would move on and the public would forget about the accusation. However, this post led to the coming out of a steady stream of accusers regarding Cuomo’s workplace misconduct.
Feb. 24, 2021
As the voices calling out Cuomo for his behavior grew louder, Boylan released a longer statement via Medium containing more details of Cuomo’s misconduct. Instances listed included but are not limited to Cuomo kissing her on the lips without consent (2018), stating he wanted to play strip poker with her (2017), and Cuomo going out of his way on many occasions to touch her lower back and legs.
Feb. 27, 2021
Just three days later, former aide Charlotte Bennett comes forward to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment. She alleges that Cuomo asked her uncomfortable questions about her sex life, including asking if “she had ever been with an older man” during a one on one meeting in Cuomo’s private office. Her story is heavily corroborated by family, friends, and fellow officials in Cuomo’s administration. The next day, Cuomo releases a statement saying in part: “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that.”
Mar. 1, 2021
New York AG Letitia James is given the green light to begin an investigation into the allegations against Cuomo. The same day, an anonymous third accuser comes forward with allegations that Cuomo made unwanted advances on her in 2019.
Mar. 7, 2021
Two more women come forward with accusations of sexual harassment: Karen Hinton and Anna Liss. Former aide Karen Hinton claimed that Cuomo gave her an “inappropriate” and “unethical” embrace 21 years ago and Former aide Anna Liss stated that Cuomo had asked her if she had a boyfriend, touched her lower back, and kissed her hand without consent. Later, the New York Senate Majority Leader and Assembly Speaker issued statements calling for Cuomo’s resignation.
Mar. 9, 2021
A sixth anonymous accuser comes forward, alleging that Cuomo inappropriately touched her at the governor’s mansion in 2020. Resignation demands grow as a bipartisan majority of New York’s state legislators call for him to step down.
Mar. 19, 2021
Current Cuomo aide Alyssa McGrath comes forward to accuse the governor of looking down her shirt and making suggestive remarks to her and another aide.
Mar. 23, 2021
The New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee begins an investigation into sexual harassment accusations against Cuomo. If the findings are damning, this investigation could lead to his impeachment.
Jul. 17, 2021
Gov. Cuomo is questioned for 11 hours as part of NY AG Letitia James’ investigation. The questioning is tense, with Cuomo at times challenging the independence of the investigators.
August 3, 2021
The Attorney General’s office releases the heavily anticipated report. The 165-page report announces that Governor Cuomo sexually harassed 11 current and former aides during his tenure as governor, along with creating a hostile workplace in which these behaviors were normalized. Later, Cuomo denies any wrongdoing in a pre-recorded message and states that “his attorney has responded to each of the allegations listed in the report” and “the facts are much different from what has been portrayed.”
Aug. 5, 2021
The unidentified woman who Cuomo groped in the governor’s mansion files a criminal complaint with the county sheriff’s office. This is the first direct action taken to punish Cuomo for his actions.
Aug. 9, 2021
The previously unidentified woman who Cuomo groped in the governor’s mansion comes forward as Brittany Commisso. In a televised interview, she tells CBS News that Cuomo’s hugs and kisses were “not normal, not welcomed, and certainly not consensual”. This interview is especially damaging because Commisso has arguably the most serious allegations, including instances of Cuomo reaching under her shirt to grab her breast and grabbing her buttocks.
Aug. 10, 2021
Governor Andrew Cuomo resigns, ending his 10-year tenure as New York’s governor in disgrace. In his speech, he makes moves to preserve his legacy, including denying any wrongdoing and emphasizing his achievements as governor. He will officially step down on August 24, and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will become New York’s first female governor.