Report: Cuomo groped female staffer; Governor denies account

Cuomo Under Fire

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A new report in the Times Union has offered more details about an alleged incident between a female staffer and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In the TU article, a source with direct knowledge of the account, who is not able to speak publicly on the matter, recounted a situation that played out late last year. The source detailed an account of a female staffer that included claims of the governor reaching under her blouse and beginning to fondle her. The source also said the woman told the governor to stop.

The newspaper adds further claims by the woman: She alleges the incident late last year was not the only time that Cuomo had touched her. She also claims Cuomo frequently engaged in flirtatious behavior toward her. The woman was reportedly asked to the mansion to help Cuomo with a technical issue on his cell phone.

NEWS10 reached out to the Office of the Governor to receive independent confirmation on several details of the TU’s report. We received this statement in response that was attributed to the governor:

“As I said yesterday, I have never done anything like this.  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.”

Andrew Cuomo
Governor of New York

NEWS10 also reached out to the Attorney General’s Office regarding the accusations referred to by the source. We were told the office cannot comment on anything related to complaints.

This latest report is the sixth claim of inappropriate behavior against Cuomo. An attorney for his second accuser, Charlotte Bennett, released the following statement Wednesday evening upon reading the TU’s latest report.

“This victim’s allegations are 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. 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.” 

Debra Katz
Attorney for Charlotte Bennett

Bennett has said she was summoned to the Capitol on a weekend and left alone with Cuomo, who asked her for help with his cellphone. She has said Cuomo asked about her sex life and propositioned her.

To date, the new allegation is the most serious claim leveled at the embattled state leader, who is under fire for several controversies. According to the newspaper, the unidentified woman’s allegation came to light as Cuomo staffers watched the governor’s March 3 press conference, his first after initial sexual harassment claims made in late February. In it, he denied ever touching a woman inappropriately. The aide subsequently became emotional and told a female supervisor who approached her about her encounters with the governor.

An independent investigation into the allegations against the Governor is underway by the AG’s office. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon H. Kim and employment discrimination attorney Anne L. Clark will lead the investigation. They have already been deputized.

While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for Gov. Cuomo to resign, he continues to deny ever touching anyone and refuses to resign, but has also said he is sorry if he made anyone uncomfortable and didn’t intend to do so. Others have openly discussed articles of impeachment, though removing Cuomo via that route would require a mass number of democrats to get on board.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Download our news app

App Store Link
Google Play Link
REMARKABLE WOMEN_2022_NOMINATE

Latest PODCAST episode

More PODCAST: On the Story with Trishna Begam
CHECK OUT OUR NEW APP FEATURES

Latest COVID-19 News

More COVID-19