The hasty 2018 promotion of a New York state trooper to the governor’s security detail who has since accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual misconduct raised questions from local reporters at the time – but no story ran, according to a state investigation.
The trooper was promoted to the governor’s personal security detail, the state police’s Protective Services Unit, a year before she would normally have been eligible – after the rules were changed to make it possible, according to the independent report commissioned by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
“Ha ha they changed the minimum from 3 years to 2. Just for you,” a witness identified as Senior Investigator #1 wrote in an email to the victim, identified as Trooper #1.
Trooper #1 first met Cuomo while working a 2017 event in New York City. They spoke briefly. Then Senior Investigator #1 was told the governor wanted the female trooper on his PSU detail “tomorrow.” In less than two months, she was transferred there.
An investigation into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has found that he sexually harassed multiple current and former state government employees. State Attorney General Letitia James announced the findings Tuesday. (Office of the NY Governor via AP )
When a local reporter from the Albany Times Union newspaper asked about it, Cuomo and his top aide, Melissa DeRosa, pushed back and a story never ran.
DeRosa told investigators “her view was that the inquiry itself was sexist, leading to a heated exchange between Ms. DeRosa and Casey Seiler, the editor of the Times Union,” the report reads. “Ms. DeRosa testified that she yelled at him, saying, ‘You guys are trying to reduce her hiring to being about looks. That’s what men do.’”
Cuomo later called Seiler himself, according to the report, allegedly asking him “not to get mad at Ms. DeRosa,” and a story on the promotion never ran.
State police are also accused of taking part in the “misleading response,” outlined in the AG report.
“Any suggestion that [Trooper #1]’s assignment to the PSU and subsequent promotion was based on anything other than her hard work and abilities is false,” state police told the Times Union reporter in December 2020. “Such a suggestion [is] an insult to [Trooper#1] and the New York State Police.”
But after the trooper joined the unit, she said Cuomo’s alleged “creepy” behavior included flirting, touching and sexually suggestive remarks, according to the report.
The attorney general’s report accuses the governor of touching the trooper’s belly and back on different occasions, kissing her on the cheek, asking her for another kiss, telling her he was looking for a girlfriend who “[c]an handle pain” and downplaying the idea of marriage because “your sex drive goes down.”
“Trooper #1 found these interactions with the Governor not only offensive and uncomfortable, but markedly different from the way the Governor interacted with members of the PSU who were men, and she conveyed these incidents contemporaneously to colleagues,” the report reads.
Multiple other state troopers on the PSU team corroborated her allegations, according to the report, including several who had witnessed the governor’s alleged touching and comments.
The New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association said in a statement that it is “dismayed and disturbed” by the details of the AG report and applauded the trooper’s courage for coming forward with her story.
“I’m outraged and disgusted that one of my members, who was tasked with guarding the governor and ensuring his safety, could not enjoy the same sense of security in her work environment that he was provided,” said union president Thomas H. Mungeer.
Cuomo denied the allegations, but the independent investigators behind the report wrote that “his blanket denials of any of the offensive conversations and physical contact lacked credibility.”
Fox News’ Stephanie Pagones contributed to this report.