ALBANY, N.Y. — The staffer who has accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo of groping her is speaking out, detailing the encounter and alleging the state’s most powerful politician groomed her over the course of two years.
The unnamed woman describes the governor slamming the door of his office in the Executive Mansion after telling her “I don’t care” when she resisted his unwanted advance.
“That wasn’t just a hug,” she told the Albany 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.
“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 aide added.
The woman said the 63-year-old governor had a habit of hugging her too tight and engaged in a pattern of inappropriate behavior that led up to last year’s incident, in which Cuomo allegedly embraced her and reached under her blouse.
“I was just so confused and so taken aback by it. ... He never said anything, which was odd,” she said.
Cuomo has resisted calls for his resignation from both sides of the aisle as a growing number of women have come forward in recent weeks with allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct.
The accusation made by the current staffer came to light as members of the executive chamber watched the governor deliver a March 3 news conference in which he said he never touched any woman inappropriately.
The aide became emotional as Cuomo emphatically denied the allegations against him and said he was sorry if he made anyone uncomfortable. She confided in a fellow staffer about the November encounter, in which she was summoned to the governor’s mansion to assist him with his cellphone.
“I don’t remember actually saying the word ‘Stop.’ I think I said, ‘You’re crazy,’” she told the Times Union. “I do remember saying that, and that’s when he ultimately stopped. ... Me saying ‘You’re crazy’ — that was definitely not something that he wants to hear. It definitely was a hit to his ego. ... And then it was almost like instantly he was done.”