New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s top aide announced Sunday that she will resign as secretary, less than a week after the state attorney general released a report that concluded that the powerful politician had sexually harassed nearly a dozen of women.
“It has been the greatest honor of my life serving the people of New York for the past 10 years. The endurance, strength and optimism of New Yorkers in the most difficult times have inspired me every day, ”DeRosa wrote in a statement late at night: Posted by NY1, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
“Personally, the last 2 years have been difficult emotionally and mentally. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such talented and committed colleagues on behalf of our state. “
DeRosa did not name Cuomo in his statement, nor did he specifically mention the sexual harassment allegations against him.
The governor’s office did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment. Cuomo denied all allegations of sexual assault at a press conference last week, insisting that he “never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James released a report Tuesday that found the Democratic governor had violated state and federal sexual harassment laws, alleging that he inappropriately touched 11 women, most of whom currently or used to. work for the state.
The investigation found that Cuomo “sexually harassed current and former New York State employees by engaging in unwelcome and non-consensual touching and by making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women.” James said at the time. of the publication of the report.
DeRosa, who held the highest-ranking staff position in the state government, was mentioned multiple times in the report. In one case, the report indicated that DeRosa helped lead efforts to retaliate against one of the women who publicly accused the third-term Democrat in December.
DeRosa’s resignation comes a day before “CBS This Morning” and The Albany Times-Union air their full joint interview with Brittany Commisso, one of Cuomo’s accusers who had previously only been identified as “Executive Assistant # 1” in the Attorney General’s report.
According to the report, Commisso accused the governor of searching under her blouse and touching her chest while they were alone in his mansion last year. He also alleged that the governor once rubbed his butt while posing together for a selfie.
In the report, Commisso testified that he was afraid of losing his job if he shared with others what had happened and reached out to Cuomo’s senior staff.
″[T]The way you were so firm with [me] that I couldn’t show anyone else that photo, I was just terrified that if I shared what was happening, it would somehow spread, ”she testified about the incident, according to the report. “And if Stephanie Benton or Melissa [DeRosa] I heard that, I was going to lose my job. Because I knew that I was certainly going to be the one to leave. “
Commisso filed a criminal complaint against Cuomo Thursday with the Albany Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Craig Apple told The New York Post that Cuomo may be arrested if investigators or the county district attorney conclude that he committed a crime.
“The governor must be held accountable,” Commisso told the media. in an interview clip released on Sunday. “What he did was a crime. He broke the law. “
Cuomo said the alleged groping never happened.
Prosecutors in several New York counties have said they want to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against Cuomo, but need a formal report from the women who accused him.
Many Democrats, including President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, New York federal lawmakers and former Cuomo loyalists, have urged him to resign or face an impeachment battle that he probably won’t win.
About two-thirds of the members of the New York State Assembly have already said they want impeachment in case Cuomo refuses to resign, and nearly all 63 members of the state Senate have asked him to resign.
But Cuomo’s allies and attorneys have said the governor has made it clear that he will not go down without a prolonged fight, trying to cast doubt on the event schedules of multiple accusers and undermine the attorney general’s report. The governor himself delivered a strange monologue that he somehow thought was a good defense.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline Online wave National Resource Center on Sexual Violence website.
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