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How Did Andrew Cuomo’s Harassment Cases Not Meet the Statutory Requirements of New York Law?

Posted 12/28/2021, by Michael Cavalier – Editor

   How Did Andrew Cuomo’s Harassment Cases Not Meet the Statutory Requirements of New York Law? How could it be that Andrew Cuomo, who was accused of touching two women inappropriately, never faced criminal charges? Apparently, the incidents don’t meet statutory requirements of the criminal laws of New York, according to Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore, as reported by USA Today.

   The investigation was prompted by Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Democratic leader in the state Senate, who said she was touched by Cuomo at an event in 2015. Cuomo denies any wrongdoing and says he doesn’t remember the incident with Stewart-Cousins. To investigate allegations of sexual misconduct, The Empire State’s laws state: A person is guilty of sexual misconduct when he or she…

   Without consent, forcibly touches the sexual or other intimate parts of another person for the purpose of degrading or abusing such person … In November, The Times reported that Mr. Cuomo was accused in two separate cases from 2013 and 2015. In one case, a woman said Mr. Cuomo tried to kiss her without her consent; in another, a staffer accused him of groping her. In neither instance did investigators find evidence to corroborate those claims. Just getting into the article, Former Governor Cuomo, said to one of the Accusers that he is Governor and he could do anything he wanted.

   In one case, a woman said that in 2014, while she was working on his campaign and preparing for a television appearance with him, he groped her and told her I’m the governor, I can do anything. The other alleged incident happened in 2003 when he was attorney general; a female employee of a nonprofit group that received state funding says he kissed her against her will. Both were staffers at that time.

   The Westchester County prosecutor said in a statement:

This office has conducted an extensive review of both incidents and has concluded that absent any additional new information, these crimes do not meet the statutory requirements for criminal charges. In fact, one cannot even be proven to have occurred. Upon review by my office, it is clear that there is no reasonable cause to believe a crime was committed.

   His office did not respond to TIME’s request for comment regarding whether or not they had reached out to Eric Schneiderman (New York Attorney General) or Kristen Clarke (President of National Lawyers’ Committee) before making their decision on filing charges against Cuomo.

   Many people have asked for more details on how Mr. Bharara reached his decision, which was issued just over a week after a news conference in which

Mr. Cuomo said that women who say they were victims should not be second-guessed by prosecutors. Here are four reasons — one for each of Mr. Bharara’s cases — that may help explain why no charges will be filed. (The law requires prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an assault occurred and that it meets certain legal standards.)

   During two incidents in 2017, according to The Associated Press, alleged victims said that Mr. Cuomo squeezed their buttocks. In one case, a woman said he grabbed her during a photo op; in another, he slapped her on her behind after she told him to stop. So how did these acts not meet statutory requirements for criminal laws? For starters, there are three different types of sexual assault charges. These include Class A misdemeanor unlawful imprisonment (which involves forcibly imprisoning or forcibly detaining someone else);

   Class B misdemeanor forcible touching (when someone touches the sexual or other intimate parts of another person with the intent to injure, degrade, or abuse); and Class D felony third-degree sexual abuse. If convicted, offenders could face up to seven years in prison and be required to register as sex offenders. But what’s important here is that neither an unwanted touch nor even slapping someone on their behind can be considered forcible touching—meaning no matter how inappropriate it may seem, none of these allegations fit within NY state’s definition of sexual assault.

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