The sixth woman to accuse New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) of sexual harassment says that he aggressively groped her after she was called to the governor’s mansion late last year.
According to an anonymous source cited by the Albany Times Union, the three-term Democrat acted in “a sexually charged manner” during the alleged groping incident.
This allegation could, if pursued and substantiated, qualify as a criminal form of sexual abuse.
That person is said to have “direct knowledge of the woman’s claims” but “is not authorized to comment publicly.”
The woman, the sixth to accuse Cuomo of inappropriate behavior, is currently not being identified. She is a described as a Cuomo aide. According to the details released late Wednesday by the Empire State’s capital paper, she was “summoned” to the governor’s residence under the “pretext” of helping Cuomo figure out how to use his phone.
The allegation was first leveled against the governor on Tuesday evening—also via the Times Union—and initially contained a less-specific charge that Cuomo inappropriately touched her.
The new report contains additional specifics like Cuomo “allegedly reached under [the woman’s] blouse and began to fondle her” at the governor’s residence when they were alone. That detail was attributed to the unnamed source.
From the report:
The woman’s story was revealed within the governor’s Executive Chamber on March 3, as staff members watched his first news conference in the week since Lindsey Boylan published an online essay detailing her own allegations against Cuomo. In the news conference, the governor denied ever touching any women “inappropriately.”
Hearing those remarks, the female aide became emotional. At least one female supervisor came to her aide and asked her why she was upset. The female aide subsequently told the supervisor what she said had been inappropriate encounters with Cuomo, the source said.
“The sixth woman, whose identity is being withheld by the Times Union because she could not be reached for comment, is a member of the Executive Chamber staff,” that initial report said.
“As I said yesterday, I have never done anything like this,” Cuomo said in response to the news about the sixth woman’s allegation. “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.”
On Monday, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) announced that former acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) Joon H. Kim and famed sexual harassment attorney Anne L. Clark would oversee an independent investigation of the numerous misconduct claims made against Cuomo.
Former Cuomo aides Lindsey Boylan, Charlotte Bennett, Ana Liss, Karen Hinton previously made such allegations in turn. Anna Ruch also accused Cuomo of making an unwanted advance at a wedding; she is not a former aide to the embattled governor.
Bennett’s attorney Debra Katz addressed the latest allegations in a statement, calling the details “eerily similar to what Charlotte Bennett has alleged.”
“Charlotte was summoned to the Capitol on a Saturday, left isolated with the Governor and asked to help him with minor technical issues with his phone. Charlotte reported this behavior and the Governor’s sexual proposition to his most senior aides, including his Special Counsel, Judith Mogul. In response, those aides failed to report Charlotte’s claims to the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations, as they were legally required,” she said. “The Governor’s sexual harassment, which Charlotte Bennett reported, was buried by his aides and never properly investigated. Because of their enablement, another young woman was left in harm’s way. Had the Governor’s staff taken Charlotte Bennett’s allegations and their legal obligations seriously, perhaps this woman would have been spared of this sexual assault. That the governor does not deny touching people, but insists he never did it inappropriately, shows he is committed to gaslighting victims and perpetuating these lies. This is exactly how abusers operate.”
“I’m not aware of the claim,” Cuomo said on Tuesday when asked about the latest accusation. “I never touched anyone inappropriately. No one ever told me at the time that I made them feel uncomfortable.”
The sixth woman has yet to file a formal complaint with the governor’s office regarding the allegation.
[image via via Spencer Platt_Getty Images]
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