Brittany Commisso, a former aide to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York who accused him of groping her in late 2020, is suing him under the state’s Adult Survivors Act for what she described as “pervasive abusive conduct,” according to court papers.
In the papers, Ms. Commisso accused Mr. Cuomo of “continuous sexual harassment” and of retaliating against her after she refused his advances and reported his conduct.
Ms. Commisso’s allegations against Mr. Cuomo are not new, and he has long denied them.
In 2021, she filed a formal criminal complaint against Mr. Cuomo with the Albany County sheriff’s office, which investigated and filed charges against him. Albany County prosecutors decided not to prosecute, saying that while they were “deeply troubled” and found Ms. Commisso “cooperative and credible,” they had concluded they could not meet their burden of proof at trial.
The court papers filed by Ms. Commisso on Tuesday were used to initiate a lawsuit and are to be followed by a complaint, according to court rules.
The legal action came just days before the expiration Friday of the state’s Adult Survivors Act, which gave people who said they were sexually abused in New York a one-year window to sue their alleged attackers, even if the statute of limitations had expired.
This week, Mayor Eric Adams of New York was accused in a similar lawsuit of assaulting a Florida woman three decades ago. Mr. Adams has denied the allegation and said he did not recall ever meeting the accuser.
Rita Glavin, a lawyer for Mr. Cuomo, said in a statement Friday: “Ms. Commisso’s claims are provably false, which is why the Albany district attorney dismissed the case two years ago after a thorough investigation.
“Ms. Commisso’s transparent attempt at a cash grab will fail,” Ms. Glavin said. “We look forward to seeing her in court.”
The legal action comes as Mr. Cuomo, who resigned as governor in August 2021 after a cascade of sexual misconduct claims, is again said to be contemplating a return to public office, generating fierce debate among Democrats.
“It disgusts me that Andrew Cuomo is even considering running for public office,” Ms. Commisso said, adding that he had refused to “accept responsibility or even acknowledge his sexual harassment of me, aside from numerous other victims, while the governor of our state.”
Ms. Commisso’s court papers say the continued harassment she suffered included “unwelcome sexual advances, serialized comments about appearance and personal matters,” hugs, kisses, sexual touching of her buttocks and the forcible touching of her breast.
She says she faced professional retaliation, including being reassigned to the “demeaning task of answering telephones in the lieutenant governor’s office,” a decision she said was made by then-Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who is now the governor.
Avi Small, a spokesman for Ms. Hochul, said Friday, “The claim regarding then-Lieutenant Governor Hochul is clearly a mistake, as she had no control over Executive Chamber personnel decisions.”
Ms. Hochul is not named as a defendant but merely cited in a summary of the allegations contained in Ms. Commisso’s court papers.
Mr. Cuomo told Politico in October that he might run for office again, but a spokesman indicated last week that the former governor, who has been traveling in Sicily with his daughters, had no firm plans.
New York Democrats have noted an online poll circulating this month that appeared to be connected to Mr. Cuomo. The poll tested messages related to the sexual harassment allegations against him and his accomplishments in office, according to screenshots shared with The New York Times.
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