Cuomo’s Resignation

Djasahn English, Managing Editor of Social Justice

On Monday, August 23rd, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gave a farewell address, in which he spoke about both his prior resignation and multiple accusations of sexual harassment. The question remains: How did a series of events get to this point for Cuomo? 

His first acquisition was in December of 2020, by Lindsey Boylan, who accused him of sexual harassment and forcefully kissing her against a wall. Cuomo responded, saying, “It’s just not true.” Following that, Charlotte Bennett, Cuomo’s executive assistant, came out saying her story shared parallels with Boylan’s, forcing a statement from Cuomo, where he said, “I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm.” 

Over the next several months nine more women came out against him, including Alyssa McGrath, a current employee of Cuomo. She claims Cuomo frequently comments on her physical appearance, stares at her body, and makes sexual comments. Following this,  on August 9th, 2021, The New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee announced it would hold hearings throughout the rest of the month in regards to Cuomo’s acquisitions of sexual harassment. The next day, Cuomo announces he will resign as the 56th governor of New York, followed by a statement saying he “[sees] the world through the eyes of [his] daughters,” ABC News says.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks to reporters during a news conference, Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) (Photo by AP)

New York Attorney General Letitia James appointed the independent investigation team, which was led by Joon H. Kim and Anne L. Clark, that resulted in Cuomo’s resignation. The investigation was opened on March 1st, 2021, after Lindsey Boylan’s acquisition, and concluded five months later after they had enough evidence to pursue Cuomo. Throughout Cuomo’s farewell address he upheld the notion of his innocence, attacking the integrity of the investigation. According to NPR, Cuomo said, “It was a political and media stampede, but the truth will [come] out in time. Of that I am confident,” enforcing his belief that James politicized the situation. In Attorney General Letitia James’s press release, investigators found that Cuomo’s timeline of events, “stood in stark contrast to the strength, specificity, and corroboration of the complaints… and reports of many other individuals,” increasing the likelihood of Cuomo’s fault. 

School Counselor, and Health, Wellness and Community Chair Jennifer Madeley, shares how social justice movements could have impacted the proceedings against Governor Cuomo, saying, “I believe that the #MeToo movement has brought to light how common sexual violence is. It seems that this awareness has aided in holding people such as Andrew Cuomo responsible for their actions, even though I think he would disagree.”

Just a year ago Governor Cuomo was being praised for his brazen approach at handling the COVID-19 pandemic deeply rooted in New York. Now, next in succession, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is to lead as New York states 57th governor, stating to NPR that, “[she is] prepared to lead.” New York now stands on the precipice of change, walking away from an abuser, to swearing in the first female governor.