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Cuomo addresses sexual harassment allegations

Mar 04, 2021 6:33 am
Edward McKinley reports in the Times Union that Gov. Andrew Cuomo took questions from the media March 3 for the first time after three sexual harassment allegations against him were made public. "I feel terrible that these people felt ... uncomfortable by the interactions," Cuomo said in a March 3 press conference. "I'm embarrassed by it. ... I didn't know I was making her uncomfortable at the time; I feel badly that I did and I'm going to learn from it. ... My usual custom is to kiss and hug and make that gesture. I understand that sensitivities have changed." The first statement came as many Democrats -- such as Hudson Valley-based State Senator James Skoufis -- called for Cuomo's resignation after the three sexual harassment allegations, and the controversy over manipulating data on COVID-19 patients in nursing homes. Cuomo said his lawyers told him not to publicly address the allegations while the state attorney general is reviewing the matter, but spoke nonetheless. "First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward. I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional. And I truly and deeply apologize for it," he said. "I feel awful about it and, frankly, I am embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say." One woman claims Cuomo kissed her without her consent; a second, who was 25-years-old, said Cuomo asked her if she'd sleep with an older man and allegedly told her he'd sleep with a woman in her 20s; and a third said he grabbed her face at a wedding two years ago and asked to kiss her. "Make a decision when you know the facts," Cuomo said, "I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people … and I have learned an important lesson. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone. I never intended it. I also understand it doesn’t matter," he continued. "It doesn’t matter my intent. It matters if anybody was offended by it. I could intend no offense, but if they were offended by it, I was wrong. And if they were offended by it, then I apologize." Read more about this story in the Times Union.