New York Governor Andrew Cuomo watches as he makes remarks on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) at Riverside Church in New York on November 15, 2020.
Andrew Kelly | Reuters
Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will not face charges after a police officer said she was “completely injured” by his unwanted touch at an event in Belmont Park in September 2019, a Long Island prosecutor said Thursday.
Acting District Attorney for Nassau County, Joyce Smith, said in a statement that an investigation found the allegations against Cuomo “credible, deeply worrying, but not criminal under New York law.”
Smith opened the investigation after details of the encounter emerged in Attorney General Letitia James’ August report on allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo. The report documented the allegations of 11 women and resulted in Cuomo’s resignation from office, despite having attacked the results as biased and inaccurate.
A message was left with Cuomo’s spokesman for a comment.
According to James’ report, the soldier said Cuomo ran the palm of his left hand over her stomach, to her belly button, and then to her right hip, where she held her gun, while holding a door for him as he went to an event in Belmont Park on September 23, 2019.
Cuomo was on the state circuit, home of the final leg of the Triple Crown of horse racing, to clear the ground for a new arena for the NHL’s New York Islanders. The arena, next to the main grandstand and the track’s paddock, opened last month.
The soldier, a member of Cuomo’s security department, told James’ investigators that Cuomo’s behavior at the event made her feel “completely injured because for me it’s between my chest and my private parts”.
James’ report said that while the soldier was annoyed by Cuomo’s accidental touch, she didn’t feel she could do anything about it.
“I’m a soldier, new to the travel team. Do I want to make waves? No,” she said, according to the report. “I’ve heard horror stories about people being kicked out of detail or how little things got carried over. … I didn’t intend to report it. “
The soldier told James’ investigators that what happened at Belmont Park was just one of many cases of Cuomo’s “flirtatious” and “creepy” behavior toward her.
Once he ran his finger from the nape of her neck to her back in an elevator, she said. Another time he asked her to kiss her in the driveway in front of his Mount Kisco house, she said.
“I remember just freezing when I – in the back of my mind I thought, oh, how am I supposed to say no politely?” She told investigators.
The investigation in Nassau County was limited to the encounter in Belmont Park, which is on the county’s border with New York City. Authorities in other parts of the state have investigated other allegations in James’ report.
In October the Albany County Sheriff’s office filed a crime against Cuomo, but a week later the district attorney asked a judge for more time to review the evidence.
The prosecutor said the sheriff’s unilateral criminal complaint, based on allegations by a woman who said Cuomo pushed his hand up her blouse and grasped her chest at the governor’s mansion in late 2020, was “potentially defective”.
At the request of the prosecutor, a court delayed the planned indictment against Cuomo until January 7th.