A current aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo came forward with allegations of sexual harassment, published in the New York Times on Friday. Alyssa McGrath told the Times’ Jesse McKinley that the governor made inappropriate remarks about her appearance and marital status and would stare down her shirt.
McGrath, who is 33, told the Times about an incident when she was called into Cuomo’s office to take dictation. “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,” she said.
The governor then asked her about her necklace, which, she said, “was in my shirt.”
McGrath also recalled an encounter with Cuomo at a 2019 office Christmas party where he kissed her on the forehead before posing for a picture with McGrath and another female co-worker. She also said Cuomo once said a phrase to her in Italian to comment on her looks and asked why she was not wearing a wedding ring.
Responding to McGrath’s allegations, Cuomo’s lawyer, Rita Glavin, told the Times that “the governor has greeted men and women with hugs and a kiss on the cheek, forehead, or hand. Yes, he has posed for photographs with his arm around them. Yes, he uses Italian phrases like ‘ciao bella,’” adding, “None of this is remarkable, although it may be old-fashioned. He has made clear that he has never made inappropriate advances or inappropriately touched anyone.”
McGrath’s lawyer, Mariann Wang, told the Times that Cuomo’s behavior “would be unacceptable behavior from any boss, much less the governor.”
McGrath is just one of multiple women who have publicly said that the governor behaved inappropriately around them. His accusers include Lindsey Boylan, a former state economic development official, Charlotte Bennett, a former aide, Anna Ruch, a guest at a wedding Cuomo officiated, and Ana Liss, another former aide, among others. They have accused him of a range of offenses: inappropriate touching and groping, nonconsensual kissing and unwanted sexual advances.
Cuomo tried to issue a public apology to his accusers at the beginning of March and said of his behavior, “It was unintentional, and I truly and deeply apologize for it,” he said. “I feel awful about it and, frankly, I am embarrassed by it.” But, he added, “I never touched anyone inappropriately.”
Both the State Assembly and New York Attorney General’s office are investigating Cuomo’s behavior. So far Cuomo has refused to resign, even though multiple lawmakers — including both New York senators, multiple New York congresspeople, and the state senate majority and minority leaders — have called for his resignation.