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Andrew Cuomo faces investigation into alleged sexual misconduct

Cuomo faces investigation after harassment claims
Cuomo faces investigation after sexual harassment claims 02:09

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing allegations that he was sexually inappropriate toward three women. Harassment allegations from two women, former aides to Cuomo, led New York Attorney General Letitia James to launch an investigation. 

James said Monday she received a formal referral from Cuomo's office, granting her the ability to choose an investigator to look into the allegations. 

"This is not a responsibility we take lightly as allegations of sexual harassment should always be taken seriously," James said in a statement, adding that the findings of the investigation would be made public after its completion. 

"All members of the Governor's office will cooperate fully. We will have no further comment until the report is issued," said Beth Garvey, special counsel and senior advisor to Cuomo. 

Late Monday, Anna Ruch accused the governor of putting his hand on her lower back, then placing his hands on her cheeks and asking if he could kiss her at a wedding reception in September 2019. Ruch detailed her allegations to the New York Times. Ruch is the third woman to accuse Cuomo of sexual misconduct, and is the only one to come forward who was not employed by the governor. 

Charlotte Bennett, the second woman to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment, said in a statement Monday that the governor has "refused to acknowledge or take responsibility for his predatory behavior." The 25-year-old former executive assistant to the governor claimed Cuomo asked if she was romantically involved, monogamous in her relationships and if she had ever had sex with older men. 

Cuomo attempted to apologize in a statement Sunday. 

"I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal," he said. "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." 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday joined the growing number of voices supporting an independent investigation. 

"He seemed to be saying, 'Oh I was just kidding around.' Sexual harassment isn't funny," de Blasio said. 

The second accusation comes after another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, accused Cuomo in a blog post of sexually harassing her and creating a hostile work environment. 

Alessandra Biaggi, a New York state senator who worked in the governor's office in 2017, called Cuomo's alleged actions "inappropriate" and "abusive." 

"He's actually saying that he meant for those words to be playful. And there is no realm of playful. When a governor of a state asks a young staffer who is 25 years old if she has sex with older men or if she has sex outside of her relationship, that is not only inappropriate, it is abusive," she said. 

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