A former employee who accused New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of groping her in the Executive Mansion in Albany has filed a criminal complaint with the Albany County sheriff's department, the department said on Friday.
The woman, whose name has not been made public, was an executive assistant who told state investigators that in one incident Cuomo groped her breast. It is the gravest of the sexual harassment allegations faced by Cuomo, whose once ascendant political career as part of one of the country's most powerful Democratic Party families is on the brink of collapse.
The former aide was one of at least 11 women who state investigators this week said were sexually harassed by Cuomo, a Democrat, who is resisting widespread calls, including from U.S. President Joe Biden, to resign, and faces impeachment by state lawmakers.
The executive assistant told investigators that Cuomo called her to the mansion in November 2020, led her into a room, closed the door, slid his hand under her blouse and cupped her breast over her bra, according to the investigators' report, released on Tuesday by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
The report also concluded that he and his staff retaliated against at least one woman who complained about him by leaking her confidential employment records to the press. James said Cuomo had broken both federal and state laws forbidding sexual harassment in the workplace but that the investigation she oversaw was a civil one and that she would not be prosecuting.
The complaint was first reported by the New York Post. A spokesman for the sheriff's office, who declined to give his name, confirmed that the woman filed a complaint and said Sheriff Craig Apple may hold a news briefing later on Friday.
Cuomo, who has been holed up with advisers at the governor's mansion since the report's release, has conceded that he is affectionate with people he meets, but denies wrongdoing. His staff contacted Albany police in March when the woman's allegations emerged.
"As we said previously, we proactively made a referral nearly four months ago in accordance with state policies," Richard Azzopardi, a Cuomo spokesperson, said in a statement.
He also referred to a "position statement" released by a private lawyer on Tuesday as a rebuttal to the investigators' findings, which said that Cuomo never groped the woman's breast, and which included multiple pages of Cuomo kissing and hugging prominent figures in U.S. politics.
Paul Fishman and Rita Glavin, two private lawyers defending Cuomo against the complaints, were due to address the attorney general's report in a news conference at 3:30 p.m. ET (1930 GMT), Cuomo's office said.
The Albany County district attorney's office is one of several prosecutors around the state that have already requested records collated by the attorney general's investigators, but would not confirm on Friday that a formal complaint had been filed.
"This is an ongoing matter that is under review," Cecelia Walsh, a spokesperson for the district attorney, said in a statement.