Gov. Cuomo denies allegation he groped female aide in governor’s mansion late last year

Cuomo Under Fire

(WIVB) — A new allegation leveled against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo by a female aide, revealed Wednesday by the Albany Times Union, is the most serious claim made to date against the embattled state leader who is under fire for both his alleged actions toward women and his handling of nursing home deaths during the pandemic.

The woman, a staffer who was not further identified by the newspaper, alleges Cuomo “reached under her blouse and began to fondle her” while they were alone in the governor’s mansion in late 2020, according to the article. The woman was reportedly asked to the mansion to help Cuomo with a technical issue on his cell phone.

In a statement provided by the Governor’s office to News 4, Cuomo said: “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.”

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.

Six women have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment or improper conduct in recent weeks. State Attorney General Letitia James on Monday appointed two attorneys to lead the investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo.

Several state lawmakers, including those in his own party, have called on Cuomo to resign, which he said he will not do. Others have openly discussed articles of impeachment, though removing Cuomo via that route would require a mass number of democrats to get on board.

In December 2020, the first accusation of sexual harassment came from former Cuomo aide Lindsey Boylan. Boylan claimed in a Medium.com article the governor touched her lower back, arms, legs and kissed her on the lips after a meeting. She went on to say Cuomo offered to play strip poker.

The second allegation came in February 2021 from former Health Policy Advisor Charlotte Bennett. In an interview with CBS News, Bennett alleged the governor was fixated on the fact she was a survivor of sexual assault and asked if she had ever been with older men. Bennett said, “I thought, ‘He’s trying to sleep with me. The Governor’s trying to sleep with me, and I am deeply uncomfortable and I have to get out of this room as soon as possible.”

Earlier this month, Anna Ruch accused Cuomo of inappropriate behavior while at a wedding in 2019. Ruch said Cuomo put his hand on her bare lower back and she removed it. She also says the governor asked for a kiss, putting his hands on her face.

Also this month, former Cuomo administration staffer Karen Hinton alleged the governor created an uncomfortable working environment, according to a Washington Post report. Hinton told the Post that Cuomo “summoned her to his hotel room and embraced her twice – the second time after she had already pulled away –  during an uncomfortable encounter when he led HUD and she was a PR consultant for the agency.”

Last weekend, former Policy and Operations aide Ana Liss alleged inappropriate behavior by Cuomo. Liss says the governor “asked her if she had a boyfriend, called her sweetheart, touched her on her lower back at a reception and once kissed her hand when she rose from her desk.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Patrick Ryan is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here.

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