A female staff member who alleges that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo groped her inside the Executive Mansion in Albany has come forward publicly for the first time, alleging that she was groomed over more than two years and instructed to say silent about her interactions with him, according to a new report.
Speaking anonymously, the aide - who is one of 10 women to accuse the governor of sexual harassment or inappropriate touching - offered new details of what went on with Cuomo, who she alleges instructed her to keep her mouth shut about it, knowing that she was a “liability” to his administration.
“I was a liability, and he knew that,” the aide, who still works for Cuomo but fears for her job, told the Albany Times Union, saying that the governor broached the potential issue while she was working on a separate task in his office.
“Near the end of it, he looked up at me and he said, 'You know, by the way, you know people talk in the office and you can never tell anyone about anything we talk about or, you know, anything, right?' " she told the Times Union. "I said, 'I understand.' He said, 'Well, you know, I could get in big trouble, you know that.' I said, 'I understand, governor.' And he said, ‘OK.' "
In the Times Union story, the aide described "a pattern of inappropriate behavior that began with tight hugs and kisses on the cheek,” which led to accusations that he groped her and others.
The alleged groping incident in November came after the aide was summoned to his personal office under the guise of needing assistance with a simple task on his cellphone.
The aide said that when she entered his second-floor office, Cuomo came out from behind his desk, aggressively embracing her in what she described as “overtly sexual,” calling it “not just a hug.”
“He went for it and I kind of like was, ‘Oh, the door is right there,' ” she said. “I said, ‘You’re going to get us in trouble.
“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.’ "
It is alleged that Cuomo then again embraced the aide, reaching under her blouse and touching her chest inappropriately without saying anything.”
The aide has also accused Cuomo of attempting to groom her through years of inappropriate behavior that included hugs and kisses on her cheek while they were in private.
“It was never in front of anybody. He made sure that it was either at the mansion or, if it was at the Capitol, that no one was around,” she said in the report. “
Cuomo has repeatedly denied sexually harassing any women, apologizing “to anyone (he) made feel uncomfortable. He also vehemently denied groping the staffer at the Executive Mansion.
“As I said, I have never done anything like this," he previously said. “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.”
Rita Glavin, an outside attorney representing Cuomo as he faces an impeachment probe and internal investigation by the New York Attorney General’s Office, again reiterated that his administration will wait until the conclusion of the investigations before commenting specifically.
"The people of New York know the governor — he has spent 40 years in public service and in the public eye,” she said in a statement released on Wednesday, April 7.
“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.”
The complete Times Union report can be found here.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.