Hochul says governor’s behavior ‘repulsive and unlawful’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 August 2021 at 4:33 pm

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul has refrained from speaking out about sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, saying she would withhold comment until the attorney general completed her investigation.

Leticia James, the attorney general, presented the findings of an independent investigation today, concluding that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, broke state and federal laws, and led a “toxic” work environment.

Hochul issued this statement this afternoon:

“Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace, and certainly not in public service.

“The AG’s investigation has documented repulsive & unlawful behavior by the Governor towards multiple women. I believe these brave women & admire their courage coming forward.

“No one is above the law. Under the New York Constitution, the Assembly will now determine the next steps.

“Because Lieutenant Governors stand next in the line of succession, it would not be appropriate to comment further on the process at this moment.”

Bob Duffy, a former Rochester police chief and mayor, served as lieutenant governor the first four years of Cuomo’s nearly 11 years as governor. Duffy, who is now president and CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce. Duffy issued this statement:

“I am shocked and dismayed to learn the findings of the investigation led by Attorney General James, and I applaud the courage of the women who came forward to share their experiences. Speaking out about toxic work environments and sexual harassment is difficult under any circumstances, but even more so when such behaviors are carried out by a person in a position of power. ‘Intent’ does not matter. At issue is the impact of actions.

“Everyone deserves a work environment free of harassment, retaliation, bullying, and fear. The responsibility of leaders is to establish a positive and safe work culture. It is unfortunate to see that this investigation concludes the opposite is true.

“While it is not my role to speculate on the Governor’s political future, this comprehensive report provides a path forward for accountability and expectations of our leaders.”