(Bloomberg) -- Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo subjected at least 13 female state employees to a sexually hostile work environment, the US Justice Department said in a report that also faulted the state’s executive branch.
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An investigation by the department’s civil rights division determined that the State of New York Executive Chamber tolerated the abusive environment under Cuomo’s leadership, failed to correct the problem and retaliated against employees who spoke out about the harassment.
An attorney for Cuomo, Rita Glavin, said he “did not sexually harass anyone” and that the Justice Department investigation was based entirely on a “deeply flawed, inaccurate, biased and misleading report” in 2021 by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Cuomo last week sued James, demanding the fellow Democrat turn over the interviews behind her report that led to his resignation.
Read More: Cuomo Demands Accuser Interviews in Lawsuit Against New York AG
The Justice Department on Friday announced an agreement with the New York executive chamber that memorializes the reforms already carried out by current Governor Kathy Hochul, as well as additional measures aimed at preventing sexual harassment and retaliation.
“Governor Cuomo repeatedly subjected these female employees to unwelcome, non-consensual sexual contact; ogling; unwelcome sexual comments; gender-based nicknames; comments on their physical appearances; and/or preferential treatment based on their physical appearances,” according to the nine-page agreement.
The investigation was opened in 2021 and carried out jointly with the US attorney’s office in Brooklyn.
“Executive Chamber employees deserve to work without fear of sexual harassment and harsh reprisal when they oppose that harassment,” Kristen Clarke, head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, said in a statement. “The conduct in the Executive Chamber under the former governor, the state’s most powerful elected official, was especially egregious because of the stark power differential involved and the victims’ lack of avenues to report and redress harassment.”
--With assistance from Greg Farrell.
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