NEW YORK (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing allegations that he sexually harassed or behaved inappropriately from more than half a dozen women. In an interview published by the Times Union of Albany, a woman who is still on his staff gave more details on her allegation that the Democrat groped her under her blouse in the governor’s mansion office in November.
Other accusations range from planting unwanted kisses to asking unwelcome personal questions about sex and dating.
The Democratic governor has said that he “never touched anyone inappropriately” and “never made any inappropriate advances,” and that no one ever told him at the time that he was making them uncomfortable. He has called some allegations false.
Cuomo has also suggested that he was simply being an old-school politician in greeting people with hugs and kisses but that “sensitivities” have changed.
Here’s a look at some of the workplace allegations, in the order they became public:
The 36-year-old former state economic development adviser, says the governor kissed her on the lips as she was leaving a one-on-one meeting in his office and suggested playing strip poker on a state plane. Cuomo says both stories are false. Among her other allegations: Cuomo summoned her alone to his office after a holiday party and made what she took to be a reference to former President Bill Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The governor also sent Valentine’s Day roses to Boylan and other female staffers, she said.
The 25-year-old former Cuomo aide said the governor asked her about her love life — including whether she ever had sex with older men — and talked about his own, saying that age differences didn’t matter in relationships and he was open to dating women over 22. During a meeting alone in his office, the governor said he was lonely and talked about wanting to hug someone, Bennett said. She said she swiftly complained to Cuomo’s chief of staff and was transferred to another job. She said she spoke to a lawyer for the governor, but didn’t insist on further action because she liked her new post and wanted to move on.
A guest at a wedding where Cuomo officiated, she told the New York Times that right after meeting her, he put his hand on her lower back, called her “aggressive” for removing it, placed his hands on her cheeks, and asked to kiss her. She said she turned away.
The 35-year-old former aide said Cuomo asked her whether she had a boyfriend, once kissed her hand at her desk, and called her by patronizing names, including “blondie,” “sweetheart” and “honey.” At a reception, the governor hugged her then put his arm around her lower back and waist as they posed for photo, Liss said. She said she eventually asked for a job transfer. In an interview, Liss said she was “not claiming sexual harassment per se,” but felt the administration “wasn’t a safe space for young women to work.”
She worked for Cuomo when he was Clinton’s federal housing secretary in the 1990s. She says Cuomo gave her an overly long and intimate hug after calling her to his hotel room for a conversation that turned to personal topics on a trip where she was serving as a consultant to the housing agency. Cuomo said Hinton’s account was “not true.”
A member of Cuomo’s staff alleged that he closed a door, reached under her blouse, and fondled her after summoning her to the governor’s mansion in Albany for help with his cellphone, according to the Times Union. She gave more detail in her first interview on the matter more than a month after the newspaper broke the story. The woman spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect her privacy, although her identity is known within the governor’s circle, the Times Union reported.
The woman, an executive assistant, told the Times Union the governor gave her kisses on the cheek and inappropriately tight hugs for years and made remarks including, “If you were single, the things that I would do to you” and “I’m single and ready to mingle.”
Then, one day in November, she was summoned to his Executive Mansion office to help him with a cellphone problem, she said. He got up from his desk, started groping her and told her “I don’t care” after she tried to deflect him by saying he was going to get them into trouble, and then he slammed the door, she said.
Then he reached under her blouse and clutched one of her breasts over her bra, she told the newspaper. The woman told a colleague this winter about the alleged encounter, and the co-worker told a supervisor in early March, according to the newspaper.
Cuomo called the report “gut-wrenching” in a March statement and said: “I have never done anything like this.”
A 33-year-old administrative assistant currently working in Cuomo’s office, told The New York Times that he looked down her shirt, quizzed her about her marital status, and told her she was beautiful, using an Italian phrase she had to ask her parents to interpret.
McGrath didn’t say the governor made sexual contact with her but thought his behavior was sexual harassment. She recalled Cuomo kissing her on the forehead and gripping her firmly around the sides while posing for a photo at a 2019 office Christmas party.
Cuomo lawyer Rita Glavin responded by reiterating his denials of inappropriate advances and touching. She told the Times he has greeted both men and women with hugs and kisses on the cheek, has put his arm around people for photos, and uses such Italian phrases as “ciao bella” (“hi, beautiful” or “’bye, beautiful”), though she said he didn’t say that to McGrath.
“None of this is remarkable, although it may be old-fashioned,” Glavin added.
The 55-year-old said she felt manhandled when Cuomo grabbed her face and kissed her cheeks while visiting her Rochester-area home in spring 2017. He was there to inspect the aftermath of flooding near Lake Ontario.
The governor planted kisses on both her cheeks in front of her family members, told her she was beautiful, and then held her hand, grabbed her face, and kissed her on the cheek again outside her home, she said.
Vill said she found Cuomo’s behavior flirtatious and inappropriate, his body language made her uncomfortable and the episode embarrassed her in front of her family and neighbors.
Cuomo lawyer Rita Glavin said the governor “has frequently sought to comfort New Yorkers with hugs and kisses” during crises and has greeted both men and women that way for decades.
“Nothing described at today’s press conference was unique in that regard,” Glavin said in a statement.