By Mary Rooke
A female New York state trooper has accused former Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, filing a lawsuit Thursday against Cuomo and others.
The anonymous trooper accused Cuomo — who recently saw similar charges against him dismissed — of kissing her on the cheek and caressing her belly button with the palm of his hand while she was on duty in 2019, according to the Washington Examiner. (RELATED: Cuomo Announces Resignation Following AG Sexual Harassment Report)
The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York also alleges former Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa and the New York State Police violated federal and local laws, according to the outlet.
“As a direct and proximate result of the unlawful conduct, Plaintiff has suffered, and continues to suffer, severe mental anguish and emotional distress, including, but not limited to, humiliation, embarrassment, stress and anxiety, loss of self-esteem and self-confidence, and emotional pain and suffering for which she is entitled to an award of monetary damages and other relief,” the Washington Examiner reports the lawsuit stated.
“The governor did not act alone. He was enabled by the machinery of the state,” the federal civil complaint states. “Women who had the courage to complain were attacked by a cadre of the governor’s closest advisors.”
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) February 18, 2022
The trooper accuses DeRosa of “hiding the Governor’s behavior” and falsely accusing her of wanting to extort Cuomo and insisting the local press not investigate her accusations, reported the outlet. (RELATED: Cuomo Accuser Details Grope Attack Inside Executive Mansion In First Interview After Report)
DeRosa’s attorney, Paul Schectman, said, “We are only aware of this case from Twitter, but according to the trooper’s own testimony Melissa’s only interaction with her was to say ‘hello and goodbye.’ It is not a viable case anywhere in America and is beyond frivolous,” the Times Union reported.
Council for the trooper, Valdi Licul, told the Washington Examiner, “Given the threats and victim-shaming that [she] has faced after she testified truthfully about being sexually harassed in the workplace by the former Governor, she has made the decision to proceed with this lawsuit anonymously with the hope that she can vindicate her legal rights and move on with her life.”
“I’ve never crossed the line with anyone. But, I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn. There are generational and cultural shifts that I just didn’t fully appreciate,” Cuomo said during the August 2021 press conference in which he resigned, citing the allegations as distractions preventing him from adequately responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cuomo’s spokesman, Rich Azzopardi, defended the former governor saying, “If kissing someone on the cheek, patting someone on the back or stomach or waving hello at a public event on New Year’s Eve is actionable then we are all in trouble,” the Times Union reported. “Gov. Cuomo will fight every attempt at cheap cash extortions and is anxious to have the dirty politics stop — we look forward to justice in a court of law.”