Sixth accuser, current aide details Cuomo’s ‘aggressive groping’ at governor’s mansion

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s sexual harassment scandal just turned into a full-blown crisis so catastrophic in nature that it could most likely spell the end of the longtime Democrat politician’s career and governorship.

The Times Union, a newspaper based out of Albany, published a report Tuesday documenting allegations from a current aide/staff member who claims Cuomo touched her without consent last year at the New York State Executive Mansion.

Citing a source “with direct knowledge of the woman’s claims,” the Times Union published a follow-up report Wednesday upgrading its description of the encounter, writing that the governor had allegedly “aggressively groped” the victim.

If true, this would mean Cuomo committed sexual assault, not just sexual harassment.

The staff member, whose identity is being withheld by the Times Union, 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,” the paper reported.

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 unnamed victim reportedly decided to speak out after she grew emotional listening to Cuomo claim during his notorious March 3rd press conference that he’d never touched his litany of other accusers in an inappropriate manner.

“The woman’s story was revealed within the governor’s Executive Chamber on March 3, as staff members watched his first news conference in the week since Lindsey Boylan published an online essay detailing her own allegations against Cuomo. In the news conference, the governor denied ever touching any women ‘inappropriately,'” according to the Times Union.

“Hearing those remarks, the female aide became emotional. At least one female supervisor came to her assistance and asked why she was upset. The female aide subsequently told the supervisor about what she said had been inappropriate encounters with Cuomo, the source said.”

Note the plural.

The unnamed victim has reportedly claimed Cuomo frequently flirted with her and that the incident last year wasn’t the only time he’d touched her.

Like with every other accusation that’s been made against him, the governor has also denied this one.

“As I said yesterday, I have never done anything like this. The details of this report are gut-wrenching. I am not going to speak to the specifics of this or any other allegation given the ongoing review, but I am confident in the result of the attorney general’s report,” he said in a statement to the Times Union.

A day earlier, on Tuesday, he denied the allegations in the paper’s original report, saying, “This is very simple, I never touched anyone inappropriately.”

Plenty of women disagree, including the latest victim plus five others and counting.

“I never made any inappropriate advances … [and] no one ever told me at the time that I made them feel uncomfortable. Obviously, there are people who said after the fact they felt uncomfortable,” Cuomo reportedly added at Tuesday’s briefing.

The task of determining whether he’s telling the truth or lying has been left up to acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon Kim and sexual harassment attorney Anne L. Clark. Both were assigned this week by New York Attorney General Letitia James to investigate the matter further.

“We are committed to an independent and thorough investigation of the facts. Joon H. Kim and Anne L. Clark are independent, legal experts who have decades of experience conducting investigations and fighting to uphold the rule of law,” James said in a statement Monday.

The AG added, “There is no question that they both have the knowledge and background necessary to lead this investigation and provide New Yorkers with the answers they deserve.”

Note that the announcement was made before the latest allegation emerged.

Note also that the latest allegation reportedly bears similarities to what allegedly happened to former aide Charlotte Bennett.

“Charlotte was summoned to the Capitol on a Saturday, left isolated with the Governor and asked to help him with minor technical issues with his phone. Charlotte reported this behavior and the Governor’s sexual proposition to his most senior aides,” Bennett’s attorney, Debra Katz, reportedly said in a statement in response to the Times Union’s reporting.

Katz reportedly added that the governor’s aides “buried” her client’s allegation, which in turn allowed another woman to be “left in harm’s way.”

“Had the Governor’s staff taken Charlotte Bennett’s allegations and their legal obligations seriously, perhaps this woman would have been spared of this sexual assault. That the governor does not deny touching people, but insists he never did it inappropriately, shows he is committed to gaslighting victims and perpetuating these lies. This is exactly how abusers operate,” she said.

With Cuomo’s sexual harassment AND assault scandal now spiraling out of control, it’s hard to see how he’ll survive it.

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Vivek Saxena

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