Current aide accuses New York governor of suggestive comments, harassment

WION Web Team
New York, United States of America Published: Mar 20, 2021, 08:13 AM(IST)

Andrew Cuomo Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Alyssa McGrath told The New York Times that Cuomo called her beautiful in Italian, referred to her and her female colleague as "mingle mamas", asked why she wasn't wearing a wedding ring, and inquired about her divorce.

An eighth woman -- a current aide -- to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has accused him of subjecting her and a female colleague to a series of unwanted, sexually suggestive remarks. 

Alyssa McGrath told The New York Times that Cuomo called her beautiful in Italian, referred to her and her female colleague as "mingle mamas", asked why she wasn't wearing a wedding ring, and inquired about her divorce.

McGrath is the first current aide to come forward publicly on the mounting allegations of sexual misconduct against Cuomo, who is the subject of an impeachment investigation by the New York Assembly.

The 63-year-old governor has denied any wrongdoing, though he has acknowledged it had been a “custom” for him to kiss and hug people when greeting them. He has said he was sorry if his behaviour had made “people feel uncomfortable.”

McGrath was quoted by the New York Times as saying that the unnamed aide, a friend and co-worker, had related the alleged groping incident to her in detail after it went public. For her part, McGrath said the governor regularly engaged in what she described as flirtatious banter mixed with more personal remarks, as well as a subtle but steady effort to cultivate rivalry among female staffers in his office, according to the Times.

The Times said McGrath’s accounts were supported by contemporaneous text messages, emails and social media posts she shared with the newspaper.

Although McGrath did not accuse Cuomo of touching her, she said his conduct amounted to sexual harassment, perpetuated by secrecy and normalised inside his inner circle, the Times reported.

Also read | How Cuomo’s team tried to tarnish one of his accusers

One current staffer whose name has been kept confidential had accused the governor in an account published last week by The Times Union newspaper of Albany of groping her breast in the Executive Mansion last year.

McGrath accused the governor of making similarly suggestive remarks to the co-worker who later told The Times Union that she had been groped.

Cuomo has vowed to cooperate with the investigation overseen by the state’s attorney general while refusing to step down before the inquiry is concluded.

The flurry of allegations in recent weeks has led to a growing clamour among prominent fellow Democrats in New York for his resignation.

New York state Attorney General Letitia James last week named a team of outside lawyers to lead an investigation into accusations the governor harassed women through unwelcome, sexualised comments and inappropriate physical contact, including unsolicited kissing.

(with inputs)

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