NEW YORK — A top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned Sunday, less than a week after his administration fell under fire over findings that the governor sexually harassed 11 women, according to reports.
Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo’s top aide, has been staunchly behind him. She joined Cuomo’s administration in 2013, eventually becoming one of the governor’s most trusted confidantes. She became his top aide in 2017.
“It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve the people of New York the past 10 years. New Yorkers’ resilience, strength and optimism through the most difficult times has inspired me every day. Personally, the past two years have been emotionally and mentally trying. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such talented and committed colleagues on behalf of our state,” she said in a statement to the New York Times.
Cuomo accuser Lindsey Boylan said DeRosa played a role.
“It was all so normalized—particularly by Melissa DeRosa and other top women around him—that only now do I realize how insidious his abuse was,” Boylan said.
DeRosa was mentioned a number of times in Attorney General Letitia James’ report on Cuomo. Executive Assistant #1 testified she thought she’d lose her job if she shared what had happened to her.
“If Stephanie Benton or Melissa [DeRosa] heard that, I was going to lose my job. Because I knew that I certainly was going to be the one to go,” Executive Assistant #1 said in the report.
DeRosa’s resignation was welcomed by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY.)
“Melissa DeRosa was Andrew Cuomo’s Frau Farbissina,” he tweeted. “She made the toxic culture more toxic, the harassment more harassing, the intimidation more intimidating, and the abuse more abusive. Good riddance.”
Cuomo has faced repeated calls to resign from opponents and allies alike, but he’s shown no signs that he plans to step down.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.