The U.S. Justice Department agreed with a finding by the New York attorney general that the state's former governor, Andrew Cuomo, violated federal law by sexually harassing female employees and retaliating against those who spoke out. As a result of its findings, the federal agency signed a settlement with New York approving reforms that Cuomo's successor, Kathy Hochul, implemented to prevent and address misconduct, and added several more, Reuters reports. Hochul's reforms included firing employees who facilitated or helped retaliate against Cuomo's accusers, opening a human resources department and creating new means for employees to report instances of sexual harassment. The Justice Department settlement announced on Friday calls for the state to expand the human resources department, add new avenues for reporting and resolving complaints involving high-level officials, and start new training and anti-retaliation programs.
In response to Friday's announcement, an attorney for Cuomo, Rita Glavin, said the former governor "did not sexually harass anyone." Glavin said the DOJ probe was entirely based on the state attorney general's report, which she characterized as "deeply flawed, inaccurate, biased, and misleading." Friday's announcement concluded a probe launched in August 2021 after New York's attorney general found that Cuomo, who is also a Democrat, had illegally groped, kissed or made suggestive comments to 11 women, and that his office had retaliated against the first accuser to go public. Cuomo, who had served since 2011 as governor, resignd a week later after pressure from President Biden and others. In 2023, one of Cuomo's aides filed a suit against him, saying she was "continuously subjected" to sexual harassment while working for Cuomo, beginning in December 2019, including sexual comments and unwanted touching. She previously filed a criminal complaint against Cuomo, the only one brought over the allegations against him, but it was dropped by a local prosecutor who said he could not prove a crime beyond reasonable doubt.