An aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo alleges he groped her in the Executive Mansion late last year, according to a new report. She is the sixth woman to come forward with allegations of sexual impropriety by Cuomo.
The woman was summoned to the mansion as part of her job, the Albany Times-Union reported Wednesday, citing a “person with direct knowledge of the woman’s claims.” It said her story was revealed within the governor’s Executive Chamber on March 3.
The staff member was called to supposedly assist Cuomo with a technical issue concerning his cellphone, according to the report.
The Times-Union said the aide — whose name the outlet withheld — and the Democratic governor were “alone in Cuomo’s private residence on the second floor of the mansion when he closed the door and allegedly reached under her blouse and began to fondle her.”
The woman, who the report said was much younger than Cuomo, told him to stop grabbing her, according to the source.
The report said that the woman alleges that Cuomo “frequently engaged in flirtatious behavior with her, and that it was not the only time that he had touched her.”
In an opinion piece for Fox News, legal analyst Greg Jarrett noted, “Under New York law, indecent contact crimes involve groping someone’s intimate parts without consent. State penal code section 130.52 defines it as ‘forcibly touching the sexual or other intimate parts of another person.'”
Debra Katz, the attorney for former Cuomo aide Charlotte Bennett, who has said she was the subject of sexual harassment from the governor, said in a statement that the new claim is similar to what Bennett has said happened to her. Bennett has said she was summoned to the state Capitol on a weekend and, while alone with Cuomo, was asked about her sex life in such a way that she felt propositioned.
NEW: Debra Katz, the attorney for ex-Cuomo aide Charlotte Bennett, said Bennett was summoned to the Capitol on a Saturday under the pretense of helping Cuomo with his phone.
— Jon Campbell (@JonCampbellGAN) March 10, 2021
“The Governor’s sexual harassment, which Charlotte Bennett reported, was buried by his aides and never properly investigated,” Katz’s statement said, according to The Associated Press. “Because of their enablement, another young woman was left in harm’s way.”
The allegations have led even many Democratic political leaders in New York — including state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins — to call for Cuomo to resign,
Fox News reported that 85 Democrats want Cuomo to either resign or be impeached.
Among them is the longest-serving Assembly member, Richard Gottfried, who was first elected in 1971.
“Multiple and growing credible allegations of sexual harassment and recent reports detailing the cover-up of the true COVID-19 death toll in nursing homes are extremely disturbing and make it clear that Governor Cuomo is no longer the right governor for New York,” he said, according to The New York Times.
Other legislators responded with disgust to the newest allegation.
I do not expect Andrew Cuomo to have the self dignity to resign. Impeach.
— Ron T. Kim (@rontkim) March 11, 2021
I’ve had enough.
Cuomo must be impeached. https://t.co/cn3jrtcyoS
— Jessica González-Rojas (@votejgr) March 11, 2021
Aggressive groping is sexual assault.
It is most certainly inappropriate touching. https://t.co/QaYnsGZmtQ
— Alessandra Biaggi (@Biaggi4NY) March 11, 2021
According to the Times-Union’s report, the latest woman to speak out was motivated by a March 3 news conference at which Cuomo denied any of the existing claims against him.
The woman reacted strongly to the briefing, the report said, and when asked why, she told a female supervisor about her encounters with Cuomo.
Cuomo issued a denial.
“As I said yesterday, I have never done anything like this,” the governor said in a statement to the Times-Union. “The details of this report are gut-wrenching. I am not going to speak to the specifics of this or any other allegation given the ongoing review, but I am confident in the result of the attorney general’s report.”
The woman’s allegations were first reported Tuesday by the Times-Union.
Cuomo said at that time he knew nothing about the allegation.
“First, I’m not aware of any other claim,” he said in a conference call with reporters. “As I said last week, this is very simple, I never touched anyone inappropriately … I never made any inappropriate advances … no one ever told me at the time that I made them feel uncomfortable. Obviously, there are people who said after the fact they felt uncomfortable.”
The Times-Union said no formal complaint was filed but the allegation was relayed to the governor’s counsel by other Executive Chamber staffers.
Beth Garvey, acting counsel to the governor, said, “All allegations that we learn of directly or indirectly are going promptly to the investigators appointed by the attorney general.”
State Attorney General Letitia James on Monday appointed Joon H. Kim, a former acting U.S. attorney for New York’s Southern District in Manhattan, and Anne L. Clark, who specializes in sexual harassment issues, to investigate the growing pile of allegations against Cuomo.
Three other women who worked for Cuomo — Bennett, Lindsey Boylan and Anna Lis — have come forward to cite instances of sexism in the workplace or sexual harassment on the part of Cuomo himself.
State Assembly, put your big kid pants on and start the process of impeachment. @CarlHeastie that’s you. Victims are not chess pieces for your budget negotiations.
— Lindsey Boylan (@LindseyBoylan) March 11, 2021
In addition to these charges, Anna Ruch, who is not a state employee, has said she was forcibly touched and kissed by Cuomo while attending a 2019 wedding reception. Karen Hinton, who had once worked for Cuomo, also said he was aggressive in hugging her after inviting her to his hotel room in 2000, while he was U.S. secretary of housing and urban development.
Multiple unidentified women whose accounts were published by The Washington Post have said Cuomo cultivated a culture in which sexism and sexual harassment were allowed.
“What this is is a systemic, intentional, hostile, toxic workplace environment that … perpetuates abusive treatment of people who don’t have power or resources,” the outlet quoted “one woman who worked in his Albany office when she was in her 20s” as saying.
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