A former aide to ex-Gov. Cuomo filed an Adult Survivors Act lawsuit against her ex-boss, leveling accusations of “continuous sexual harassment” by the defendant followed by a job demotion after spurning his unwanted advances.
The three-page Wednesday filing in Albany Supreme Court from one-time assistant Brittany Commisso details the alleged persistent and unwanted behavior by Cuomo that ran the gamut from sexualized remarks about her appearance to the sexual touching of her buttocks and forcible touching of her breast during her time in Albany as an executive assistant inside the state Executive Manor.
“All of (this) was objectively unreasonable and abusive and reasonably perceived by plaintiff as being abusive,” the court filing charged. “She was required to suffer to maintain employment and avoid adverse changes in the condition and terms of employment, which in fact she later suffered in retaliation for rejecting and reporting the same.”
The lawsuit seeks punitive and compensatory damages from Cuomo and the state of New York. The Democratic politician was initially charged with a misdemeanor sex offense for the alleged groping when the two were alone in his office, with a complaint alleging he slipped a hand under Commisso’s blouse to touch her.
“Ms. Commisso’s claims are provably false, which is why the Albany District Attorney dismissed the case two years ago after a thorough investigation,” said Cuomo attorney Rita Glavin. “Ms. Commisso’s transparent attempt at a cash grab will fail. We look forward to seeing her in court.”
The Commisso criminal charge was actually dropped in January 2022 by Albany County District Attorney David Soares, who said he was “deeply troubled” by the woman’s groping claim during an investigation where he described her as “cooperative and credible.”
The lawsuit charged that Commisso was demoted from her position in Cuomo’s office and given an assignment answering phones in the Lieutenant Governor’s office after rebuffing the governor. The plaintiff’s filing said she continues to “incur considerable expenses for treatment and other damages.”
Commisso was one of 11 women leveling sexual harassment charges against Cuomo, who resigned his post in August 2021 while denying the allegations even as an investigation by State Attorney General Letitia James produced a damning report implicating the governor.
Commisso, in an August 2021 interview with “CBS This Morning,” provided a detailed account of her creepy encounter with the governor.
“He came back to me and that’s when he put his hand up my blouse and and cupped my breast over my bra,” she alleged.”I exactly remember looking down. seeing his hand, which is a large hand, thinking to myself, ‘Oh, my God. This is happening.’ … It was – I don’t have the words. I don’t have the words.”
State officials said more than 2,600 claims were made before the window closed on the ASA lawsuits, with allegations leveled against high profile defendants including actor Cuba Gooding Jr. and rock star Axl Rose.