A former top aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo first accused him of sexual harassment in December, now she alleges in new details that he touched her inappropriately and once kissed her on the lips.
In an essay posted to Medium on Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan said after she was appointed to the role of Chief of Staff at New York’s state economic agency in 2015, Cuomo took an “uncomfortable” interest in her.
“My boss soon informed me that the Governor had a ‘crush’ on me,” she wrote, noting that the Director of the Governor’s Offices said that Cuomo suggested she “look up images of Lisa Shields — his rumored former girlfriend — because ‘we could be sisters’ and I was ‘the better looking sister.’”
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“The Governor began calling me ‘Lisa’ in front of colleagues,” Boylan wrote. “It was degrading.”
She also claims Cuomo “would go out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs,” and once joked that they play strip poker. The kiss, per Boylan, happened after a private meeting with Cuomo in his New York City office.
“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,” she said. “The idea that someone might think I held my high-ranking position because of the Governor’s ‘crush’ on me was more demeaning than the kiss itself.”
Boylan, who worked in Cuomo’s office from 2015 to 2018, said the governor “made unflattering comments about the weight of female colleagues… them about their romantic relationships and significant others,” and “said the reasons that men get women were ‘money and power.’”
Boylan wrote in her Medium essay that she decided to go public with her truth after learning that Cuomo was being considered for U.S. Attorney General.
“Seeing his name floated as a potential candidate for U.S. Attorney General — the highest law enforcement official in the land — set me off,” she said. “In a few tweets, I told the world what a few close friends, family members and my therapist had known for years: Andrew Cuomo abused his power as Governor to sexually harass me, just as he had done with so many other women,” she wrote.
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“I know some will brush off my experience as trivial. We are accustomed to powerful men behaving badly when no one is watching. But what does it say about us when everyone is watching and no one says a thing?”
Boylan, who is running for Manhattan Borough President, initially came forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Governor Cuomo in a Dec. 13 Twitter post, in which she said he “sexually harassed me for years.”
The governor denied the accusations at the time. “It’s not true,” he said during a press conference. “I fought for and I believe a woman has the right to come forward and express her opinion and express issues and concerns that she has. But it’s just not true.”
In her Medium essay, Boylan said “Cuomo has created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected.”
She added “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.”
Caitlin Girouard, the governor’s press secretary, fired back at the essay on Wednesday, calling Boylan’s accusations “simply false.”
“As we said before, Ms. Boylan’s claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false,” Girouard said in a statement.
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