Karol Markowicz: Cuomo sexual harassment probe -- what will it take for corrupt governor to finally quit?

While most headlines focus on Gov. Cuomo, the “sexual harasser,” his behavior went well beyond harassment. Unwanted kisses on the lips, the grabbing of butts and thighs, is not harassment, it is assault. 

Yet James, who is being praised for standing up to Cuomo despite being in the same political party, went fairly easy on the governor. 

A similar groper committing this kind of forcible touching wouldn’t get a vague statement of  “whether the conduct amounts to or should be the subject of criminal prosecution.” That very same behavior on a subway or a street would land the perpetrator in jail. 

CUOMO SEXUALLY HARASSED MULTIPLE WOMEN IN VIOLATION OF STATE AND FEDERAL LAW, NY AG FINDS

Why does the governor get a pass?

Beyond his lewd conduct, the governor was found to have retaliated against at least one former employee for reporting his behavior. The attorney general’s report concluded “the Executive Chamber’s response to one complainant’s allegations constituted unlawful retaliation.” This kind of bullying behavior has been standard from Gov. Cuomo’s office for years but now had stepped way over the legal line. 

Where is the punishment?

REP. ELISE STEFANIK CALLS FOR GOV. CUOMO’S RESIGNATION AND IMMEDIATE ARREST

Asked whether James was making any referrals to prosecutors so the governor would face state or federal charges, James said, “our work is concluded. The document is now public. The matter is civil in nature and does not have any criminal consequences.”

The Albany police department may pursue charges for the woman whom Cuomo groped but James will no longer be playing a role. James also said there is no coordination between her office and the New York Assembly which would be responsible for deciding the question of impeachment.

ANDREW CUOMO’S EX-GIRLFRIEND WORRIED ABOUT HIS DAUGHTERS AMID SEXUAL HARASSMENT SCANDAL: SOURCE

In his response to the attorney general’s announcement, Cuomo gave his own odd press conference Tuesday afternoon where he defended himself by saying he just loves too much. 

“I try to put people at ease. I try to make them smile,” Cuomo said. He described the shift in what is acceptable behavior as “generational” or “cultural” but that’s simply untrue. Groping women was never acceptable. Making sexual comments to an employee has long been considered a fireable offense. 

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We watched years of “Me Too” firings for offenses far smaller than those of which Gov. Cuomo now stands accused. There is no way Cuomo was unaware that his behavior was not normal.

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“There should be a zero tolerance policy when it comes to sexual harassment & must send a clear message that this behavior is not tolerated.” That’s what Gov. Cuomo tweeted in 2013. So why does this not apply to him in 2021? How much longer should New York State continue to live with a corrupt governor who does not live under his own rules?   

Cuomo also lamented our toxic moment where politicization is so rampant. But it’s specifically toxic because of this politicization. Democrats have long given each other passes on this kind of behavior while a compliant media silently watched. That’s why Cuomo has gotten away with his behavior for as long as he has.

The governor knows what he did to eleven women. After the attorney general’s report, we all do, too. He should not be allowed to get away with his “aw shucks” defense. 

It is long past the time for Gov. Cuomo to resign or be forced out. 

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