Former Aide Describes Cuomo Groping Incident: ‘Wasn’t Just a Hug’

US
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks at an event in Bronx N.Y., March 26, 2021. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters Pool)

The woman who accused New York governor Andrew Cuomo of groping described the incident in an interview with the Times Union published on Wednesday.

The woman’s identity was not disclosed by the paper, although she is known by employees at the state’s executive mansion. The incident allegedly occurred in November 2020, after Cuomo asked her to come to his office to fix a problem with his cell phone.

When she reached the office, the woman said Cuomo began to hug and touch her in a sexual manner.

“That wasn’t just a hug,” she told the Times Union. “He went for it and I kind of like was, ‘Oh, the door is right there’….I was mortified that a woman who works here is going to come in and see.”

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When the woman protested that the governor’s action would get them both in trouble, he allegedly responded “I don’t care” and slammed the office door shut.

“He came right back and he pulled me close and all I remember is seeing his hand, his big hand. I remember looking down like, ‘Holy sh**,’” the woman said, alleging that the governor groped her breast under her shirt but above her bra. “I was just so confused and so taken aback by it….He never said anything, which was odd.”

The woman said she had no choice but to return to work, for fear of losing her career: “If I told someone, I’m done. And who do you tell?”

The woman continues to come to work at the state Capitol, despite receiving fewer assignments and what she describes as an occasional “dirty look” from other employees.

Nine women have come forward to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment, detailing alleged incidents of unwanted touching kissing. Two of the incidents were photographed, with Cuomo grabbing and kissing the face of a resident of Greece, N.Y., and grabbing the face of a guest at the wedding of former aide Gareth Rhodes.

Cuomo has denied touching any woman inappropriately, although he has apologized if he “acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable.” Investigators appointed by Attorney General Letitia James are conducting a probe of the allegations.

The governor is also facing investigations over his administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in nursing homes. An analysis by the Empire Center found that Cuomo’s March 25, 2020, executive order requiring nursing homes to accept coronavirus-positive patients may have caused between several hundred to over 1,000 additional deaths.

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