The former Democrat governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, was forced to resign from the post last year after several women accused him of sexual harassment. The District Attorney’s Office in Oswego, New York, had initiated a criminal probe against the disgraced former governor based on allegations made by Virginia Limmiatis.
However, the office has now dropped the investigation, insisting that Limmiatis has no legal basis to pursue a case against the former NY governor.
“To be clear, this decision is based solely upon an assessment of the law and whether the people can establish a legally sufficient case under controlling precedent… In no way should this decision be interpreted as casting doubt upon the character or credibility of Ms. Limmiatis, or how harmful the acts she experienced were,” Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes said in a statement.
Oakes criticized the sex offense statutes in New York, stating that they fail to provide victims of such harassment with adequate protection. The district attorney called for these laws to be revised and reformed to reflect the “lived experiences of the victims.” Oakes asked the NY state Senate and Assembly to address the issue, warning that failure to do so will only ensure that victims continue being denied the justice they deserve.
In March 2021, Limmiatis had accused Cuomo of inappropriately touching her chest when the two met at an event in 2017. When the incident took place, Limmiatis did not file any complaint as she was afraid of Cuomo who is a powerful political figure.
Cuomo was forced to resign in August 2021 during his third term in office after New York Attorney Letitia James alleged in a report that he had sexually harassed 11 women.
The report accused Cuomo of creating a toxic culture at the workplace where many women were kissed and groped. Cuomo also made several suggestive comments to women. Limmiatis’ allegations were included in the report.
After Oakes dropped the investigation against Cuomo, a spokesperson of the former governor called James’ report a “political hit job.” The spokesperson pointed out that five DA’s have checked the sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo and not a single accusation mentioned in the report “have stood up to any level of real scrutiny.”
In addition to Oakes, prosecutors in Nassau, Albany, Westchester, and Manhattan have dropped charges against Cuomo. Rita Glavin, an attorney for Cuomo, said that “truth and the rule of law prevailed.” She insisted that Cuomo did not act in an improper manner with Limmiatis.
However, Limmiatis’ lawyer Mariann Wang pointed out that being free from criminal prosecution does not mean Cuomo did not commit the crime. “Not every violation of law results in a criminal prosecution… This decision does not mean Cuomo acted appropriately or lawfully towards Ms. Limmiatis or any of the other women who came forward, or that he didn’t cause them significant harm,” Wang said.
Cuomo called Letitia James a “serial liar.” In a Feb. 1 tweet, the former New York governor stated that James has avoided answering substantive questions about the “many flaws, omission, and suppression of evidence” in her report for many months. James “misused her office” in her bid to become governor, he added.
James’ office has pushed back at such allegations, accusing Cuomo and his lawyer of making up and misstating information to fit their narrative. “The findings of this independent investigation have been corroborated by a mountain of evidence, the Assembly’s report, and multiple district attorneys, including the Oswego D.A. today… Mr. Cuomo’s relentless attacks on these brave women will not mask the truth — he is a serial sexual harasser,” Delaney Kempner, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, said in a statement.