Cuomo faces sex harassment allegations and Dems are demanding independent investigation
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ALBANY, New York, March 1, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — The Governor of New York has half-apologized for comments he has made to women while denying he had touched anyone inappropriately or propositioned employees.
“I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation," Andrew Cuomo said Sunday night.
“To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that.”
Cuomo, 63, has been accused of sexual harassment by two women, both former staffers. Lindsey Boylan, a former adviser, and Charlotte Bennett, another former adviser and executive assistant, have both come forward with allegations about the governor’s misconduct. Boylan published her allegations last week in the online Medium platform, and Bennet spoke to The New York Times on Saturday about her experiences with Cuomo.
In her Medium essay, Boylan wrote, “Governor Andrew Cuomo has created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected.”
“His inappropriate behavior toward women was an affirmation that he liked you, that you must be doing something right,” Boylan continued.
“He used intimidation to silence his critics. And if you dared to speak up, you would face consequences.”
Boylan, who is now running for Manhattan borough president, alleged that Cuomo suggested that they “play strip poker” as they sat in the governor’s “taxpayer-funded jet.”
The politico also alleged that Cuomo had called her by the name of a former girlfriend Boylan apparently resembled and that he went out of his way to touch her. She wrote that the Governor spoke inappropriately about other women: mocking their weight, their romantic relationships, and their partners. Finally, she alleged, Cuomo actually kissed the married woman on the lips.
“I tried to excuse his behavior,” Boylan wrote.
“I told myself 'it’s only words.' But that changed after a one-on-one briefing with the Governor to update him on economic and infrastructure projects,” she continued.
“We were in his New York City office on Third Avenue. As I got up to leave and walk toward an open door, he stepped in front of me and kissed me on the lips. I was in shock, but I kept walking.”
Boylan stated that senior staffers, "mostly women,” were hostile to her when she spoke up for herself, and eventually she resigned.
She first came forward with her allegations about Cuomo via Twitter in December 2020 because she was frightened that he might be nominated U.S. Attorney General. Boylan had also just been told by another former staffer that she, too, had been harassed by Cuomo.
Bennett, 25, told The New York Times that the governor had questioned her about her personal life, asked how she felt about age difference in relationships, and told her he would be open to dating a 22-year-old. He also allegedly told her he was lonely and asked her when she had last “really hugged somebody.”
"I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared and was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job," Bennett said.
Cuomo, who denied Boylan’s allegations when they came out in December and again when her essay appeared last week, continued to deny that he was guilty of sexual harassment.
"Questions have been raised about some of my past interactions with people in the office,” Cuomo wrote in an official statement.
"I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm. I spend most of my life at work and colleagues are often also personal friends,” he continued.
"At work sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny. I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good-natured way. I do it in public and in private. You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times. I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married. I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business.”
The governor went on to say that he now understands that his “interactions” may be been “insensitive or too personal” and that he stated that some of the things he has said “have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation.”
"To be clear I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to,” he stated.
The allegations will be investigated by the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, as Cuomo’s own party has demanded that the probe be independent. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called the allegations “credible.”
“The women who have come forward with serious and credible charges against Governor Cuomo deserve to be heard and to be treated with dignity,” Pelosi said in a statement to Fox News.
“The independent investigation must have due process and respect for everyone involved.”
Historic culture of misconduct among New York Democrats
Beverly Stevens, the editor of Regina Magazine, told LifeSiteNews that sexual misconduct was typical of the Democratic Party in New York state when she worked for it in the 1980s.
“My first job was working for the NYS Assembly when (Andrew Cuomo’s) father was lieutenant governor,” the born-and-bred New Yorker told LifeSiteNews via social media.
“I was 22. All of us young women knew the score.”
The score was predation, but although common it was, thankfully, not universal.
“I never heard a word about Mario (Cuomo),” Stevens said.
“But lechery was normal for Democrats.”
Stevens told an anecdote about a married senior party member, now deceased, who was “accompanied by a shapely blonde in tight-fitting sweaters” wherever he went. When Stevens asked the man’s nephew, a fellow staffer, who the woman was, the nephew alleged that the woman’s job was to provide the politician with sexual release.
At least some women were complicit in, or at least profited in some way from, the adulterous activity, Stevens allowed.
“All these guys had mistresses in Albany while their wives were at home,” she said.
“The women all abased themselves willingly until the men moved on. Then the women were mollified with government jobs. Standard operating procedure.”
Stevens, who was a spokeswoman for an Assembly committee, did not herself experience harassment by senior Democrats.
“There were plenty of secretaries for them to prey on,” she said.