Politics

Cuomo denies new claim he touched woman inappropriately, ducks question on fourth term

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Key Points
  • A woman who currently works on the staff of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has accused him of inappropriately touching her in the governor's mansion last year.
  • The woman, who was not identified, is the latest in a series of women who have alleged Cuomo sexually harassed them or otherwise touched or spoke to them inappropriately.
  • Cuomo said, "I'm not aware" of the new claim, when a reporter asked about it. But he repeated denials of wrongdoing that he first made last week, and refused to say if he will still seek a fourth term.
  • Attorney General Letitia James has appointed private lawyers to investigate allegations against Cuomo by women who include at least two former aides, Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a daily briefing following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manhattan in New York City, New York, July 13, 2020.
Mike Segar | Reuters

A woman who currently works on the staff of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has accused him of inappropriately touching her in the governor's mansion, according to a new report.

The woman, who was not identified, is the latest in a series of women who have alleged Cuomo sexually harassed them or otherwise touched or spoke to them inappropriately.

The Times Union newspaper in Albany reported that the woman told a supervisor in the Executive Chamber recently that Cuomo inappropriately touched her last year "during an encounter at the governor's mansion, where she had been summoned to work."

That complaint was reported to Cuomo's counsel by other Executive Chamber employees and then was passed along to the office of Attorney General Letitia James.

James on Monday appointed a group of private lawyers to investigate allegations by women against Cuomo. Two of those women, Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, previously worked as aides to Cuomo.

Boylan says Cuomo kissed her without her consent. Bennett said he asked her questions about her sex life in what she perceived as an effort to get her to have a physical relationship with him.

Cuomo, during a news conference later Tuesday, said, "I'm not aware" of the new claim, when a reporter asked about it.

But he repeated denials of wrongdoing that he first made last week.

"I never touched anyone inappropriately ... I never made any inappropriate advances," Cuomo said. "No one ever told me at that time I made them feel uncomfortable."

Cuomo said he had told his daughters the same thing about the accusations. The governor has three daughters with his ex-wife Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of the late New York senator and U.S. attorney general Robert Kennedy.

A spokesman for James declined to comment on the new allegation as reported by the Times Union.

Cuomo, who has refused to resign despite the growing number of claims against him, refused Tuesday to answer whether he will seek a fourth term in office, which his father, Mario Cuomo, failed to win after serving three terms of New York's governor.

"Today is not a day for politics," Cuomo said. "I'm focusing on my job."

Cuomo also said, with an edge in his voice to the reporter who asked whether the allegations were making him reconsider running next year, said, "You don't know any facts, right? You know allegations. You don't know facts."

"Let's operate on facts," the governor added. "We have an investigation ... let's get the facts and then we can have a discussion on the facts."

Cuomo, who called for then-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's resignation in 2018 within hours of Schneiderman being accused of sexual abuse, brushed aside a question on why he should be treated differently.

"There are allegations, and then there are allegations,right? And there are spectrum of allegations. There's capital crimes, there's physical violence, down to more minor violations," Cuomo said.

A number of leading Democrats had called on Cuomo to resign even before the latest accuser's claim was revealed Tuesday.