New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Accused of Sexual Misconduct By Multiple Women


By Eunho Jung, Assistant Junior Editor

Within these past years, the #MeToo movement has paved the way for both women and men to share their experiences with sexual harassment and or assault. Beginning with allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein, women came forward and shared their stories with the hashtag #MeToo. This movement has not come to an end, instead, it is now much more amplified. Although #MeToo stemmed from abuse in Hollywood, it has now transcended to the political sphere. 

Within the past month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has slowly seen his political career come down in flames. Rising to popularity during the height of the coronavirus, Cuomo, who is in his third term, has been accused of sexual misconduct by seven women so far. 

Lindsey Boylan, the first woman to accuse Cuomo of sexual misconduct, tweeted on December 13th, 2020, “Yes, @NYGovCuomo sexually harassed me for years. Many saw it, and watched… I hate that some men, like @NYGovCuomo abuse their power.” As a former special adviser to the governor, Boylan told the New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow that Cuomo once made the disgusting joke that he would “mount” her if he were a dog. She also revealed that Cuomo kissed her “on the lips” without consent at his Manhattan office. She spoke of the toxic and intimidating workplace environment where multiple jokes were made regarding the looks and appearances of the staff. “It was toxic, and particularly for women,” she said in the interview. However, her accusations slowly faded from the public, until Charlotte Bennet, a former aide to Cuomo, came forward with her own allegations against the governor. 

Charlotte Bennett, a former health policy advisor, told the New York Times that Cuomo harassed her last spring during the height of the coronavirus. She said that the governor asked her multiple questions about her sex life: whether or not she had been with older men, what she thinks about age differences in relationships, and that Cuomo had said he was open to relationships with women in their twenties, clearly insinuating a sexual relationship with her. Although the governor had never touched her, Bennett revealed she felt “horribly uncomfortable and scared, and was wondering how [she] was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of [her] job.” After disclosing the events that transpired to Cuomo’s chief of staff, Bennett was transferred to another job on the other side of the New York Capitol Building ensuring she would have little to no interaction with the governor. She saw no need for an investigation as she was happy with her new job and wanted to move on.

Since then, more and more women have come forward and shared their experiences with Governor Andrew Cuomo. Anna Ruch claimed that the governor tried to kiss her at a wedding they both attended in 2019. A picture taken by a friend clearly encapsulated the uncomfortable encounter. Ruch seems to be cringing away from Cuomo as he grabs her face with both of his hands with a sly grin. Karen Hinton, a former press aide, revealed that Cuomo embraced her in a hotel room in December 2000.  “He approached me, embraced too tightly, too long, and was aroused,” she told WNYC radio. “I felt extremely uncomfortable and actually shocked.” On the same day Hinton shared her story, another former aide, Ana Liss, came forward as well. Liss told the Wall Street Journal that Cuomo asked her if she had a boyfriend, called her sweetheart, touched her lower back at a reception, and kissed her hand as she was getting up from her desk. Liss served as a policy and operations aide to the administration during 2013 and 2015. The sixth allegation came from an anonymous female staffer who alleged that the governor aggressively groped her at the Executive Mansion. The unidentified woman was called to the mansion to help the governor with a technical problem but instead was sexually harassed.

Just recently, Alyssa McGrath, a current executive assistant to the governor, came forward with her own allegations of sexual harassment. McGrath told the New York Times that Cuomo commented on her looks and stared inappropriately at her body. She detailed an account of when the governor looked down her shirt. “I put my head down waiting for him to start speaking, and he didn’t start speaking. So I looked up to see what was going on. And he was blatantly looking down my shirt.”

Andrew Cuomo and his administration have denied all the allegations. At a press conference on Wednesday, March 3rd, Cuomo spoke out for the first time. “I never touched anyone inappropriately. I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable.” Although he did acknowledge and support women coming forward and sharing their experiences with sexual harassment, Cuomo did not believe any of his accusers to be telling the truth. Refusing to resign as governor, he asked that everyone waits for an investigation to be completed by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

However, Cuomo lacks the support of his party to stand behind him during this time. Representative Kathleen Rice, a former Nassau County district attorney, became the first Democrat in New York’s congressional delegation to call for Mr. Cuomo to resign. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Congressman Jamaal Bowman issued a joint statement calling for the resignation of Cuomo. It read “As members of the New York delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives, we believe these women, we believe the reporting, we believe the Attorney General, and we believe the fifty-five members of the New York State legislature.” Furthermore, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer joined other members to call for his resignation. Many believe that he is unfit to govern and demand he resigns. 

This is not the only issue that the administration is tackling. The F.B.I. is leading an ongoing investigation to determine if the governor and his senior aides provided false data on senior resident home deaths, which is a severe crime. Several senior aides have recently resigned due to Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic, but the governor himself has not left amidst all the crises.

Sophia Kim, a staff writer on the Patriot Press, expressed her disappointment. “Up until now, I thought he was a good governor because he took the COVID-19 situation seriously. But sexual harassment? That is not okay. Hopefully, investigations will be completed to uncover the truth.” 

Eden Rivera, a junior of Wayne Hills, shared her thoughts on the matter. “In my honest opinion, I think Cuomo is a respectable and very responsible person in every aspect of his life. He has handled our current situation in life regarding the pandemic very well, which is why he won an award for such. I think that since he has won this award, now people are starting to come for him. He even went as far to apologize for all the women that have felt he has wronged. That says a lot compared to presidents in the past who do not even acknowledge their sexual assault allegations.”