The female staff member who claims New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo groped her inside the governor’s mansion in November, told the Albany Times Union he had groomed her over the years. time and had later urged her to remain silent about their interactions.
Speaking anonymously, the aide told the newspaper in a long and detailed interview that the exchange came after Lindsey Boylan, a former Cuomo administration employee, alleged in December that the governor had sexually harassed “for years”.
“I was a handicap, and he knew it,” said the woman, who still works for Cuomo. “He was definitely trying to let me know, ‘It would be in your best interest. [to keep quiet]”. … I know his look and I know how intimidating it can be. He wanted to send me a message. “
The woman said it was the governor who brought up the matter as she worked on another clerical task for him.
“Towards the end he looked up at me and he said, ‘You know, by the way, you know people are talking in the office and you can never tell anyone about anything that we are talking about or about. , you know, anything, okay? “She told The Times Union. “I said, ‘I understand’. He said, “Well, you know, I could be in big trouble, you know that.” I said, “I understand, Governor.” And he said, “OK”. “
Neither the governor’s office nor Rita Glavin, an outside lawyer representing Cuomo, immediately returned a request for comment to the Times Union account, published online Wednesday afternoon.
The account of the newspaper article details the most serious allegations of sexual misconduct against Cuomo, who has now been accused of harassment by numerous staff members and several other women he has interacted with. The aide described what The Times Union said was “a pattern of inappropriate behavior that started with tight hugs and kissing on the cheek” and led to accusations of trial and error.
Cuomo said he enjoys “teasing people” in the office and apologized if his interactions were “misinterpreted as unwanted flirtation.” But he denied ever having “inappropriately touched” anyone, and specifically denied the allegation of anonymous help.
The woman told The Times Union that a colleague asked her to come to the governor’s mansion in late November to help with a problem with her cell phone, and that Cuomo specifically asked her to come.
Once there, the woman told The Times Union, he quickly began to inappropriately grab her as she tried to get him arrested. She said she was “mortified” that someone could see the incident and “terrified that it would happen because that’s not who I am and that’s not what I’m here for.”
She said he kept pushing despite his attempts to get him to stop and, after slamming the door, he reached inside his shirt and touched her chest.
The alleged incident, which POLITICO has not independently confirmed its account of, is one of many allegations made against Cuomo. Among the women who have stepped forward in recent weeks are a number of current and former staff in her office.
According to the Times Union, which was the first to report the alleged November groping early last month, this is the first time the woman has spoken publicly about the meeting and she has chosen to remain anonymous to protect her privacy. At the time, Cuomo called the allegations “heartbreaking” and denied them – as he did with the other charges of sexual harassment and misconduct against him.
The allegation was then referred to local law enforcement and is among the issues investigated by an investigation by outside investigators for State Attorney General Tish James and a separate investigation by the Judicial Committee of the State Assembly, the latter of which can be used. to initiate impeachment proceedings against Cuomo.
The Times Union reported that she was interviewed by investigators with the state attorney general’s office in New York on March 12.