News & Politics

#BelieveAllWomen: The Five Women Who Have Accused Andrew Cuomo of Sexual Misconduct

AP Photo/John Minchillo

In the wake of uncorroborated allegations against Brett Kavanaugh back in 2018 that weren’t even credible, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo joined the chorus of Democrats calling on Republicans to support a full investigation and #BelieveSurvivors.

Now, five women have come forward alleging sexual misconduct by Governor Cuomo, and many more, have reported a “toxic” and “hostile” work environment in his administration. Others, like former New York journalist Lindsay Nielsen, have also come forward claiming  “damaging” harassment and “personal attacks” from the Cuomo administration. The accusations against Cuomo are credible and even corroborated in many cases—unlike the allegations made against Brett Kavanaugh.

A recent poll shows that between the nursing home scandal and the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, Cuomo’s approval ratings have tanked. After reaching a high of 71 percent last April, his approval rating now stands at 38 percent.

Cuomo has now twice refused to resign, scoffing at calls from within his own party to step down, and even said he’d have to be impeached in order to leave office.

It may very well come to that.

Below, I have recapped the names of Cuomo’s sexual misconduct accusers and their allegations.

Lindsey Boylan

A former aide to Cuomo who worked for him from March 2015 to October 2018 came forward back in December about her experiences working for him. Governor Cuomo “sexually harassed me for years,” she claimed. “Many saw it, and watched. I could never anticipate what to expect: would I be grilled on my work (which was very good) or harassed about my looks.” In February, she elaborated on her claims.

“Governor Andrew Cuomo has created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected. His inappropriate behavior toward women was an affirmation that he liked you, that you must be doing something right,” Boylan wrote in a blog post on Medium. “He used intimidation to silence his critics. And if you dared to speak up, you would face consequences.”

Boylan, armed with screenshots of emails and text messages, recounted the pattern of inappropriate behavior of the governor, with suggestive comments and unwelcome touching. But she said she didn’t “truly fear him until” an incident in December 2016 when she found herself alone with him in his office.

“As he showed me around, I tried to maintain my distance. He paused at one point and smirked as he showed off a cigar box. He told me that President Clinton had given it to him while he served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The two-decade-old reference to President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky was not lost on me,” she wrote. “The Governor must have sensed my fear because he finally let me out of the office. I tried to rationalize this incident in my head. At least he didn’t touch me. That made me feel safer.”

But she says Cuomo’s “inappropriate gestures became more frequent.”

She finally started speaking out after a 2018 incident in his New York City office on Third Avenue. “As I got up to leave and walk toward an open door, he stepped in front of me and kissed me on the lips. I was in shock, but I kept walking.” After this, she no longer felt safe or comfortable in the office, and spoke out, after which her relationship with her work colleagues grew hostile. “I was reprimanded and told to get in line by his top aides, but I could no longer ignore it.”

Charlotte Bennett

Charlotte Bennett, 25, a former executive assistant and health policy adviser in the Cuomo administration, told The New York Times that when she was alone with Cuomo in his office, the governor asked her about her sex life, and if she “had ever been with an older man.”

Bennett is a survivor of sexual assault.

“I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” she told the New York Times.

This is not the first time she’s told her story, either. According to the report, Bennett reported the incident to Cuomo’s chief of staff.

However, after she gave a statement about the incident to a special counsel’s office, she was transferred to a different job where she would likely have no contact with the governor. When asked about whether she felt she was being propositioned, Bennett told the New York Times, “That’s absolutely how it felt.”

Anna Ruch

The next accuser is Anna Ruch, 33, who worked in the 2020 Biden campaign and in the Obama administration, who alleges that the 63-year-old governor grabbed and kissed her at a 2019 wedding in Manhattan that he officiated. “He said, ‘Can I kiss you?’” Ruch told the New York Times. “I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed.”

According to Ruch, within moments of being introduced, Cuomo put his hand on her lower back, which was exposed in an open-back dress. “I promptly removed his hand with my hand, which I would have thought was a clear enough indicator that I was not wanting him to touch me.”

The governor did not get the hint, and then placed his hands on her cheeks and asked if he could kiss her. “I turned my head away and didn’t have words in that moment,” Ruch said. The moment was captured in a photograph provided to the New York Post.

“It’s the act of impunity that strikes me,” Ruch said. “I didn’t have a choice in that matter. I didn’t have a choice in his physical dominance over me at that moment. And that’s what infuriates me.”

Karen Hinton

Karen Hinton, a former press aide to the governor, told the Washington Post that back in 2000, Cuomo, when he led the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, summoned her to his “dimly lit” hotel room and embraced her twice after a work event.

Hinton, who is married, pulled away from Cuomo, but alleges he pulled her back in for another embrace. “I thought at that moment it could lead to a kiss, it could lead to other things, so I just pull away again, and I leave.”

Cuomo’s team responded to the allegations by attacking Hinton.

“Attacking the accuser is the classic playbook of powerful men trying to protect themselves,” Hinton said in response to Cuomo’s denial.

Anna Liss

Another former aide, Anna Liss, told the Wall Street Journal that when she worked for Cuomo as a policy and operations aide from 2013 to 2015, the governor asked her if she had a boyfriend, touched her on her lower back, and kissed her hand as she rose from her desk.

“It’s not appropriate, really, in any setting,” Liss, now 35, said. She is also one of many former Cuomo officials who have come forward to say that the governor regularly inquired about their dating lives, touched them and remarked about their physical appearance.

She never made a formal complaint, but eventually requested a transfer to another office. Her experience working for Governor Cuomo caused her to drink heavily, and she eventually sought mental-health counseling.

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Matt Margolis is the author of Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trumpand the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter, GabFacebookMeWeHeroesRumble, and CloutHub.

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