Cuomo faces new allegation of misbehavior by another woman
Another employee of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, went public Friday with claims that he ogled her body, remarked on her looks and made other suggestive comments that she found inappropriate, opening yet another front in the growing sexual harassment scandal that has upended New York politics.
The employee, Alyssa McGrath, also said she had spoken privately with another member of Cuomo's staff about that woman's allegations that he groped her during a private encounter in the governor's mansion. The allegations of that person, who has not been publicly named, were referred to Albany police by Cuomo's staff last week after she described them to a supervisor.
The new claims add fuel to a steadily widening scandal that has deeply eroded Cuomo's standing in New York and within the Democratic Party. Democrats in the state Assembly and the New York Attorney General's Office have launched investigations of his behavior, and a majority of New York's delegation at the U.S. Capitol, including Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirstin Gillibrand, has called on him to resign.
Cuomo, 63, has been accused of making inappropriate comments, including suggestions of strip poker and discussions of the sex lives of his subordinates, as well as improper physical contact, including a nonconsensual kiss with one state employee, a prolonged hug in a hotel room with a former aide and the touching of a young woman's bare lower back at a wedding before grasping her face with his hands. At least two of the women have backed up their claims with contemporaneous texts or emails.
The governor has categorically denied any "inappropriate" contact with women and has apologized for any conversations that made women feel uncomfortable, saying he had no idea at the time that he was doing any harm. He avoided answering a question about whether he had any sexual contact with employees that he believed to be consensual.
McGrath, who works in the governor's office, alleged in a New York Times account that Cuomo inquired about her lack of a wedding ring and the status of her divorce, gazed down her shirt, and called her beautiful in Italian.
McGrath also said the governor tried to keep the unnamed woman who accused him of groping her from speaking about the incident with McGrath. The two women worked together in the governor's office. The groping accusation was first reported by the Albany Times Union.
Cuomo's office declined to comment on the latest claims, referring questions to Cuomo's private attorney, Rita Glavin, who did not respond to requests for comment.
McGrath's attorney, Mariann Wang, who confirmed her client's published account, said Glavin's previous explanation of Cuomo's behavior toward McGrath was "not credible."
Glavin had argued that the governor's behavior around women "may be old fashioned" but was not remarkable or inappropriate. She did not deny that he used Italian phrases like "ciao bella" or greeted men and women with hugs and kisses on the cheek, forehead or hand.
"This was not just friendly banter. Ms. McGrath understands the common phrase 'ciao bella,' " Wang said in a statement to The Washington Post.
The accusations came a day after the New Yorker published an interview with Cuomo's first sexual harassment accuser, Lindsey Boylan, who alleged several improper interactions, culminating in a nonconsensual kiss. Boylan described an incident when the governor joked about his dog jumping around near her, saying that if he were a dog he would try to "mount" her as well, according to the magazine.
Cuomo has repeatedly said in recent weeks that he will not step down, and he has attacked the growing number of lawmakers calling for his resignation as political opportunists who are attempting to undermine the democratic process.
"People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture and the truth," Cuomo said.
But recent polling by Quinnipiac University has shown public support for Cuomo fading as the number of accusations has increased. The share of New York voters who say he should not resign dropped to 49% in mid-March from 55% earlier in the month. Two-thirds of voters in the most recent poll say they would not like to see him run for a fourth term in 2022, and nearly 6 in 10 say he is not honest or trustworthy.
Cuomo is simultaneously battling scandal on other fronts. His administration has admitted that it didn't release complete data about COVID-19 deaths among nursing home patients last year at a time when the governor's aides feared that the information could be used by his political opponents.
One of Cuomo's top political fixers, Larry Schwartz, who oversees vaccine distribution in the state, has also been under fire for calls he made to county executives asking them to support the governor during the scandals, even as those same executives have been asking the state for more vaccine supplies to inoculate their residents.
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