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Former NY governor Cuomo charged with misdemeanour sex offence

New York – A criminal complaint charging former New York governor Andrew Cuomo with a misdemeanour sex offence has been filed in a court in Albany, the state’s capital, a spokesman for the New York state courts said yesterday.

“As this is a sex crime, a redacted complaint will be available shortly,” the spokesman, Lucian Chalfen, said in an emailed statement.

Representatives for Cuomo, 63, who resigned from office over two months ago under mounting legal pressures and demands for his ouster from President Joe Biden and others, were not immediately available for comment.

A copy of the complaint posted online by WNBC-TV in New York said Cuomo engaged in the misdemeanour offence of “forcible touching” on December 7, 2020, at the governor’s Executive Mansion by placing “his hand under the blouse shirt of the victim … and onto her intimate body part.”

The complaint goes on to say that Cuomo fondled the woman’s breast “for purposes of degrading and gratifying his sexual desires,” but the name of the woman has been redacted.

The week prior to his resignation, Brittany Commisso filed a criminal report with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office alleging that the then-governor of groped her breast at the Executive Mansion in Albany late last year.

The New York Post said Cuomo was expected to be arrested next week and charged with a misdemeanor in the alleged groping of a former aide.

It said the anticipated charge resulted from a probe by Albany County District Attorney David Soares, citing a source briefed on the matter.

Soares’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cuomo resigned as governor in August after over 10 years in office, following a probe that found he had sexually harassed 11 women.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said a five-month independent investigation concluded that Cuomo had engaged in conduct that violated federal and state laws.

“The criminal charges brought today against Mr. Cuomo for forcible touching further validate the findings in our report,” James said in a statement yesterday.

The former Democratic governor has long denied wrongdoing, though he has said he accepted “full responsibility” for what he called ill-conceived attempts to be affectionate or humorous.

Cuomo’s resignation capped a months-long downfall, derailing the political career of a man once considered a possible US presidential contender, and whose daily briefings early in the Covid-19 pandemic raised his national profile.

Cuomo’s resignation spared him from possible removal from office through impeachment proceedings in the state legislature, which appeared likely even though that body is dominated by fellow Democrats.

The independent investigation found that Cuomo groped, kissed or made improperly suggestive comments to women, including current and former government workers, and retaliated against at least one woman who accused him of sexual misconduct.

Like his father Mario Cuomo, Andrew Cuomo was elected to three four-year terms as governor.

He was hailed as a national leader last year at the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic after delivering daily news conferences as his state became the US epicentre of the public health crisis. ― Reuters

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