A current Cuomo administration aide who accused Governor Andrew Cuomo of groping her is speaking out for the first time, telling the Albany Times Union that she believes the governor had been grooming her with a pattern of inappropriate behavior over a span of two years, culminating in the November 2020 incident. The paper is withholding her identity to protect her privacy.
The aide recalls being called to the Executive Mansion, at Cuomo’s request, to help him with a technical problem with his cell phone. She said Cuomo began groping her as soon as she arrived at his office, getting up from his desk and heading over to her.
“And that wasn’t just a hug,” she told the outlet. “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 … I was terrified of that happening, because that’s not who I am and that’s not what I’m here for.”
Unsure of what else to say, the aide said she told the governor, “You’re going to get us in trouble.” She said he responded by slamming the door shut and saying, “I don’t care.”
She said Cuomo then walked back over to her, put his hand under her shirt, and groped her breast over her bra:
“I remember exactly what I was wearing,” she said. “I remember him slamming (the door) so hard that I remember thinking to myself that I’m sure the staff is, like, ‘Is everything OK up there?’ 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_.’”
“I was just so confused and so taken aback by it … He never said anything, which was odd,” she said. “At this moment, I don’t know what to say — I don’t know what to do. Now my hives are coming out. I’m, like, swearing in my mind. I remember I walked out and he walked back into his office … I remember going downstairs and escorting myself out and going to my car and sitting there for a second and going, ‘OK, I have to now go back into the Capitol, go back to my desk and do my job and pretend that, like, that didn’t just happen.’
“I didn’t have another choice. I remember (thinking), ‘You have to pull yourself together … even if you have to sit here for a couple minutes to do that,’” she continued. “If I told someone, I’m done. And who do you tell?”
The aide, who still works in the governor’s office, believes that Cuomo had slowly been grooming her in the years leading up to this incident, through inappropriate touches and probing questions about her romantic life.
She recalled him giving her tight hugs, saying, “Sometimes he would pull my whole body close to him. I remember purposely, like, taking my pelvis and pulling away … I knew what he was doing.”
She said that during a conversation about her marriage, Cuomo “looked at me one time and said, ‘Oh, if you were single, the things that I would do to you.’”
Cuomo has consistently denied the sexual-harassment accusations against him and has rebuffed calls for him to resign, saying that he plans to await the findings from Attorney General Letitia James’s investigation into the claims.
The staff member’s story first emerged in early March, when the governor’s office confirmed that it had reported the allegation to the attorney general’s office. As she watched Cuomo publicly deny other sexual-harassment claims, the woman teared up and shared her story with a co-worker, who then reported her allegation to a supervisor, according to the Times Union. Cuomo called the details of her allegation “gut-wrenching,” but maintained that he has “never done anything like this.”