A former aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has accused the 63-year-old Democrat of several years of sexual harassment, detailing allegations she first made in December in an essay posted to an online publishing website.
Lindsey Boylan, who worked for New York state’s economic development agency and is now running for New York City’s Manhattan borough president, described on Medium.com incidents of an unsolicited kiss, an invitation to play “strip poker,” and “going out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms, and legs.”
“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,” Boylan wrote. “His inappropriate behavior toward women was an affirmation that he liked you, that you must be doing something right.
“He used intimidation to silence his critics. And if you dared to speak up, you would face consequences.”
Cuomo denied the accusations made in December, and a spokesman reiterated the denials to several outlets again on Wednesday.
“Ms. Boylan’s claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false,” Cuomo’s spokeswomanCaitlin Girouard told The New York Times.
Boylan’s essay included a screenshot of an email from the director of the governor’s offices to her which said that Cuomo referenced Boylan as someone who could be a sister of his former girlfriend, only “the better looking sister.” He called her “Lisa” – a reference to Cuomo’s former companion Lisa Shields – in front of colleagues.
“It was degrading,” Boylan wrote.
She said she became fearful of Cuomo in December 2016 when she was specifically called to his office by Cuomo’s bodyguard.
She entered and was alone with Cuomo, who gave her a tour and “smirked as he showed off a cigar box. He told me that President Clinton had given it to him while he served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The two-decade old reference to President (Bill) Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky was not lost on me.”
She said Cuomo must have sensed her fear and let her out of the office.
“The Governor’s pervasive harassment extended beyond just me,” she wrote. “He made unflattering comments about the weight of female colleagues. He ridiculed them about their romantic relationships and significant others. He said the reasons that men get women were ‘money and power.’”
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