DIANA FLORENCE WEIGHS IN ON INVESTIGATION INTO CUOMO
NEW YORK, NY (03/03/2021) (readMedia)-- "The Governor's abusive behavior towards his staff has been an open secret in New York politics for quite some time, but we have now learned in the last week from Ms. Bennett, Ms. Ruch and Ms. Boylan's accounts that his behavior - both in and outside the workplace - includes pervasive sexual harassment, aggressive and unwanted touching, and the grooming of entry-level employees for sex.
"The Governor has denied and dismissed the accounts of his behavior as mere jokes, when the State's Human Rights Law includes 'jokes, pranks, intimidation' as a form of harassment. In another instance, he implied that Ms. Bennett may have misunderstood his actions due to her previous experiences as a survivor of sexual assault, and his office attacked the veracity of Ms. Boylan's claims with flight manifests. The Governor is well aware of what he is doing by using the women's victim status and character to sow doubt into these accusations.
"While the Attorney General's office staffs out and begins the probe into the Governor's conduct, there are many questions that we need answers to in order to fully understand how the Governor used the power of the State to shield himself from the consequences of his actions, including:
- Why was there no investigation into this behavior when Ms. Bennett reported the incident to her superiors per the State's Human Rights Law?
- Why/how were Ms. Boylan's personnel records leaked to the press, after she first tweeted in December, when retaliation is prohibited under the same statute?
"I have great faith in Attorney General James' ability to oversee a thorough investigation, but the constraints of State law are ridiculous; requiring her to provide a weekly report on the investigation to the Governor who must also countersign any checks used to pay for the inquiry. As a 25-year prosecutor who's done multiple corruption investigations, it's unheard of to provide updates to the target of the investigation, or to be dependent on the target to fund the investigation itself. I urge lawmakers in the Legislature to amend these laws restricting the Attorney General's authority.
"Lastly, in my experience, sexual misconduct in the workplace can often cross the boundary of a civil offense to a criminal act. While the Attorney General's investigation focus is primarily civil - given Ms. Boylan's allegations of being forcibly kissed at the Governor's office in Manhattan - a full criminal investigation must be conducted as well.
"New Yorkers deserve better from their leaders, just as Ms. Bennett, Ms. Boylan and countless other women who endured similar behavior at work in New York State deserved far better.
"If elected, I would be the first woman to lead the Manhattan District Attorney's office in its 200-year history. And I have an aggressive vision for gender-based crimes. We will not accept the status quo any longer."