New York governor Andrew Cuomo groped a former aide at the governor’s mansion last year, part of a long-running pattern of mistreatment against her, according to a person with direct knowledge of the claims. Six women, including many former employees, have accused the governor of harassment, which he denies.
The woman, whose name has not been released and was reportedly much younger than the governor, was allegedly called to the mansion to assist Mr Cuomo with an issue with his cell phone. When they were alone in the governor’s residence on the second floor, he allegedly reached up her blouse and groped her.
“I have never done anything like this,” Mr Cuomo told The Independent in a statement. “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 incident was part of a broader pattern of harassment, according to the woman, which included flirtatious behaviour and other unwanted touching.
The woman revealed her story to a female supervisor on 3 March, who subsequently reported it to the governor’s office on Monday, though a formal complaint has not been made.
As the accuser watched Mr Cuomo give a press conference earlier this month denying another of the allegations, a female supervisor noticed her becoming upset. She asked what was wrong, and the woman told her about her alleged experiences with the governor.
Five other women, including four other former staff members, have accused the governor of harassment, including making inappropriate comments about their appearance, asking questions about their sex life, and kissing a colleague without consent, all of which he denies.
Some New York lawmakers have called on Mr Cuomo to resign, while others are preparing an attempt to impeach him. New York attorney general Letitia James has ordered an independent investigation into the allegations.
He also said he “fully support[s] a woman’s right to come forward,” but denied any inappropriate conduct.
Previous accusers include Ana Liss, a former policy aide, who said the governor kissed her hand and asked about her personal life, as well as Karen Hinton, a former aide who said Mr Cuomo asked her about her marriage and hugged her in a way that was “very long, too long, too tight, too intimate.”
Two other former aides have also accused the governor of inappropriate treatment. Lindsey Boylan said the governor gave her an unwanted kiss, and Charlotte Bennett said Mr Cuomo was “grooming” her by asking her about her sex life and her thoughts on relationships with older men.
Finally, Anna Ruch, who did not work for Mr Cuomo, said that the governor touched her lower back and asked if he could kiss her at a wedding, an exchange which was photographed.
Mr Cuomo is also facing an unrelated scandal that his administration concealed the true extent of Covid deaths in New York nursing homes, which it denies. Still, according to a recent poll, the governor retains majority support in the state.