Cuomo aide whose groping accusation sparked criminal case files civil suit

By Brendan Pierson

(Reuters) – A woman who in 2021 accused former New York governor Andrew Cuomo of groping her when she was working for him has filed a civil lawsuit against her one-time boss.

Brittany Commisso, whose accusations had led to criminal charges that were later dropped, in a summons filed Wednesday in Albany, New York state court, said she was “continuously subjected” to sexual harassment while working for Cuomo, beginning in December 2019, including sexual comments and unwanted touching.

A lawyer for Cuomo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The governor, a Democrat, resigned in August 2021, after an inquiry by New York Attorney General Letitia James found he had sexually harassed 11 women.

Commisso had previously filed a criminal complaint accusing the governor of touching her breast in the governor’s mansion in December 2020, leading to a misdemeanor sex offense charge in October 2021. It was the only criminal charge brought over the allegations against Cuomo.

Albany’s district attorney in January 2022 dropped the case, saying that he found Commisso “cooperative and credible” and was “deeply troubled” by her allegations, but could not prove a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

Commisso said in her lawsuit that she was demoted in retaliation after she complained about the 2020 incident. She is seeking an unspecified amount of money damages.

Another former aide, Charlotte Bennett, sued Cuomo for sexual harassment in September 2022. Cuomo has denied the allegations, and the case remains pending.

Commisso’s lawsuit is one of a recent series filed under the Adult Survivors Act, a New York state law allowing such cases to be filed in court even if the statutes of limitations have run out. The deadline for the special one-year window for such complaints under the law expired Thursday.

(Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York, Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi; Editing by Alistair Bell)