Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday she’s working to “erase” a culture of sexual harassment in New York State, in the wake of disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo being charged with groping a former female aide.
“What we’re seeing is a lot of news developing right now, so all I can say is what I’m responsible for is making sure that there is a culture where people feel protected,” she told The Post at an unrelated event at Junior’s Restaurant in Brooklyn when asked to respond to the misdemeanor criminal complaint filed in Albany City Court Thursday against Cuomo — which could land him up to a year in prison.
“I have always stood with and continue to believe not only the women in this situation, but all women who come forward to bring allegations of sexual harassment or abuse,” she said shortly afterwards, at a separate event in Brooklyn.
“No one will ever question what we’re doing in our administration,” noting since taking office in August, she has implemented in-person sexual harassment trainings, directing the executive chamber, her office that is compromised of top aides, hire an outside law firm to handle all harassment and discrimination cases.
The actions were taken largely in response to the release of state Attorney General Letitia James’ Aug. 3 bombshell sexual harassment report that concluded Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women and created a toxic work environment. He resigned shortly after.
“We are working very hard to erase this culture so all women, all people, feel free from discrimination, harassment and abuse in the New York state workplace.”
She refused to say if she believed Cuomo should have been charged for allegedly forcibly touching the former aide, Brittany Commisso.
“I am not getting involved because there are so many issues swirling around right now,” she said.
“That is up to the individuals with all the information and I’ll just be making sure I protect the women in our workforce and believe the women who came forward in the past.”
A misdemeanor criminal complaint filed in Albany City Court by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office alleges that Cuomo, 63, “did intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, forcibly place his hand under the blouse shirt of the victim … and onto her intimate body part.”
“Specifically, the victims [sic] left breast for the purposes of degrading and satisfying his sexual desire,” it adds.
The incident allegedly took place on the afternoon of Dec. 7 on the second floor of the Executive Mansion, the governor’s official residence.
Although the victim’s name was redacted from the complaint, Commisso lawyer Brian Premo, acknowledged it is his 33-year-old client who is the alleged victim.
A summons has been issued directing the former governor to appear in Albany City Court on Nov. 17, according to the Albany County Sheriff’s Office and the Albany County District Attorney’s Office.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple told The Post in an interview Friday morning that on the 17th, Cuomo will be arraigned, fingerprinted and his mug shot will be taken.