On Thursday, a New York agency referred the latest sexual assault claim against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) to the Albany police. The New York State Executive Chamber, part of Cuomo’s own office, reported the claim to police as a matter of protocol in cases involving physical contact.
As PJ Media’s Matt Margolis noted, the sixth sexual assault claim against Cuomo — which went public on Tuesday — involves an allegation that could rise to the level of misdemeanor sexual assault.
The Albany Times Union first reported that Cuomo had allegedly touched a woman inappropriately inside the governor’s mansion after she had been summoned there on official business last year. Yet on Tuesday, the Times Union revealed more chilling details about the claim.
According to a source familiar with the anonymous woman’s claims, the female aide alleges that Cuomo aggressively groped her in a sexually-charged manner. The woman “had been called to the mansion under the apparent pretext of having her assist the governor with a minor technical issue involving his mobile phone. They were alone in Cuomo’s private residence on the second floor when he closed the door and allegedly reached under her blouse and began to fondle her.”
The woman herself has not filed a police report.
“As a matter of state policy when allegations of physical contact are made, the agency informs the complainant that they should contact their local police department,” Beth Garvey, acting counsel to the governor, told Fox News.
“If they decline, the agency has an obligation to reach out themselves and inform the department of the allegation. In this case the person is represented by counsel and when counsel confirmed the client did not want to make a report, the state notified the police department and gave them the attorney’s information,” Garvey explained.
Albany police have not opened an official investigation, but the department is offering its services to the alleged victim, The New York Times reported.
Cuomo categorically denied the accusation. “I have never done anything like this,” the governor said on Wednesday. In a statement last month, Cuomo denied all sexual assault claims. While he admitted that “my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal” and that “some of the things I have said may have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation,” he insisted, “I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable.”
Attorney General Letitia James (D-N.Y.) is assembling a team to investigate the sexual assault claims.
Some of the women who made the sexual assault claims had previously spoken up, but explosive developments in the COVID-19 nursing home scandal drew fresh attention to these claims. No fewer than six women have come forward accusing Cuomo of sexual assault.
Lindsey Boylan, a former Cuomo aide, went public in December but gained attention last month. She claimed the governor “has created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected. … He used intimidation to silence his critics.” Boylan claimed Cuomo approached her numerous times and once kissed her on the lips.
Charlotte Bennett, a former health policy adviser, said Cuomo asked her personal questions about her sex life. Anna Ruch, a former Obama staffer, said Cuomo grabbed and kissed her at a 2019 wedding in Manhattan — and a photograph shows an extremely uncomfortable Ruch with Cuomo’s hands on her cheeks. Karen Hinton, a married woman and former press aide to the governor, said that Cuomo embraced her in his “dimly lit” hotel room in 2000. She left before anything else happened. Anna Liss, another former aide, recounted Cuomo asking her if she had a boyfriend, touching her on her lower back, and kissing her hand.
Unlike these five women, the woman behind the groping allegation has not come forward publicly. The fact that she refused to file a police report and the fact that her story has come out via a separate source speaking to the Times-Union may justify some skepticism about the claim, but only an investigation will reveal the truth.
Cuomo has refused to resign amid these scandals, despite many Democrats calling on him to step down. New York Republicans have filed an impeachment resolution, allowing Democrats to put some skin in the game.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.