US

Gov. Cuomo accuser details alleged groping incident

Gov. Cuomo accuser details alleged groping incident

The female aide who’s accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo of groping her broke her silence to provide a vivid account of the alleged incident — describing how he “pulled me close” and stuck his hand under her blouse.

In her first public interview, the unidentified woman told the Albany Times Union in an article published Wednesday that she was summoned to the Executive Mansion to help Cuomo with his cellphone on a weekday in November.

When she entered his second-floor office, she said, Cuomo came out from behind the desk and aggressively embraced her in what she described as an overtly sexual manner “that wasn’t just a hug.”

“He went for it and I kind of like was, ‘Oh, the door is right there,’” she said.

The woman said she quietly freaked out while considering how to respond to the powerful, three-term Democrat.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has faced a series sexual misconduct allegations
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has faced a series sexual misconduct allegations
Hans Pennink

“I didn’t know what else to say. … It was pretty much like ‘What are you doing?’ That’s when he slammed the door. He said, ‘I don’t care.’”

Although the sound of the door was loud enough that Cuomo’s staff most likely wondered what was going on, he wasn’t deterred, she said.

“He came right back and he pulled me close and all I remember is seeing his hand, his big hand,” she said.

“I remember looking down like, ‘Holy sh–.’”

Cuomo, 63, then reached under her blouse and grabbed one of her breasts over her bra, she said.

“I was just so confused and so taken aback by it … He never said anything, which was odd,” she said.

Exterior view of the New York state Executive Mansion where a former aide alleges Gov. Andrew Cuomo groped her
The New York state Executive Mansion, where a former aide alleges Gov. Andrew Cuomo groped her
AP

“That was the first blatant move.”

She also said she believed Cuomo tried to groom her for a relationship over the past two years through inappropriate behavior that included tight hugs and kisses on her cheek.

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“It was never in front of anybody,” she said.

“He made sure that it was either at the mansion or, if it was at the Capitol, that no one was around.”

The woman made her accusations during a lengthy interview last week, the Times Union said.

An account of the alleged November incident was previously made public last month by a person with direct knowledge of the woman’s claims, the Times Union said at the time.

A co-worker, Alyssa McGrath, also reportedly told the New York Times later last month that the woman confided in her about the alleged groping and  that Cuomo “told her specifically not to tell me.”

McGrath, 33, also accused Cuomo of sexually harassing her by, among other things, looking down her blouse and calling her beautiful in Italian.

State officials referred the alleged groping incident to the Albany Police Department for potential investigation and cops “reached out to the victim’s attorney and offered up any other police assistance,” a police spokesman said at the time.

It was unclear Wednesday whether the woman has spoken with cops or intends to press charges.

Under state law, “forcible touching” of another person’s “intimate parts” to gratify “sexual desire” or to degrade or abuse the victim is a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of one year in jail.

The allegations are the most serious made to date against Cuomo, who’s been accused of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior by a series of women, including current and former aides.

Demonstrators gather for a rally decrying New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's handling of nursing homes during the COVID-19 outbreak
Demonstrators gather for a rally decrying New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes during the COVID-19 outbreak.
AP

Cuomo has repeatedly insisted that he “never touched anyone inappropriately.”

The various accusations against him are under investigation by outside lawyers hired by state Attorney General Letitia James and are also part of an impeachment probe by the state Assembly’s Judiciary Committee.

The alleged groping victim was interviewed in New York City by James’ outside investigators on March 12, the Times Union said, citing a person briefed on the matter.

In a prepared statement late Wednesday afternoon, Cuomo lawyer Rita Glavin said, “The people of New York know the Governor — he has spent 40 years in public service and in the public eye.”

“He has repeatedly made clear that he never made inappropriate advances or inappropriately touched anyone,” Glavin said.

“The Attorney General’s review of this claim and others, including evolving details and new public statements by complainants or their surrogates, must be thorough, fair and provide the truth.”

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About the author

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Raymond Hicks

With a knack for storytelling, Raymond started The Madison Leader Gazette about a year ago. Covering substantial topics under the US & World section, he helps information seep in deeper with creative writing and content management skills.

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