Cuomo Accused of Inappropriate Behavior by Fifth Female Aide

Cuomo Accused of Inappropriate Behavior by Fifth Female Aide

A female employee who works in New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Chamber said he kissed her on the forehead, called her beautiful in Italian and looked down her shirt as she sat across from him in his office in separate instances over the past three years.

The woman, Alyssa McGrath, is the fifth current or former aide to the governor to accuse him of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior in the workplace. In an interview with the New York Times published Friday, Ms. McGrath said the governor’s behavior amounted to sexual harassment.

Ms. McGrath’s lawyer, Mariann Wang, confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that Ms. McGrath had made the allegations against Mr. Cuomo. Ms. McGrath referred questions to Ms. Wang.

Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to the governor, referred questions to Rita Glavin, an attorney for Mr. Cuomo. Ms. Glavin didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Cuomo has previously apologized for workplace behavior that made anyone uncomfortable, but has said he never touched anyone inappropriately.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is overseeing an investigation into the accusations. The investigation is also looking at whether Mr. Cuomo’s top officials enabled the alleged behaviors and whether they took steps to intimidate his accusers, according to the women and their lawyers.

The state Assembly has opened an impeachment investigation into the sexual-harassment allegations and the Cuomo administration’s handling of Covid-19 deaths in the state’s nursing homes.

The governor said during a press call Wednesday that he wouldn’t talk about the allegations of inappropriate behavior while Ms. James’s probe and the impeachment investigation are pending.

In the Times interview, Ms. McGrath described a series of other allegedly inappropriate interactions with Mr. Cuomo. She said he asked about her lack of a wedding ring, kissed her on the forehead and called her and a co-worker “mingle mamas.” She told the Times she came forward after becoming angry when Mr. Cuomo denied touching anyone inappropriately.

Earlier this month, another female employee who works in the governor’s office accused Mr. Cuomo of touching her inappropriately last year at the Executive Mansion in Albany. The governor’s office referred the complaint about that allegation to the state attorney general and later to the Albany Police Department. Mr. Cuomo has denied the accusation.

Three former aides to the governor—Charlotte Bennett, Lindsey Boylan and Ana Liss—said over the past few days that they have been interviewed by investigators for the state attorney general. The three women have all accused Mr. Cuomo of either sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior while they worked for him.

The governor’s administration is also under a federal investigation into its handling of Covid-19 nursing-home-death data. Investigators are looking at a state report in July about factors that led the virus to spread in the facilities and at the administration’s delay in releasing a full tally of the fatalities, according to people familiar with the matter.

Beth Garvey, a special counsel and senior adviser to Mr. Cuomo, has said that his advisers advocated against including data on out-of-facility deaths in the report because they had concerns about accuracy.

Federal prosecutors are also looking at a push by Mr. Cuomo’s administration to enact broad protections to shield nursing homes from civil liability and criminal prosecution over the treatment of Covid-19 patients early in the pandemic, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Azzopardi previously said in a statement that New York was one of many states that enacted forms of liability immunity for healthcare workers and facilities. He said the immunity protections were passed by the state Legislature.

“In order to fight this unprecedented pandemic, we had to realign our entire healthcare system using every type of facility to prepare for the surge, and in New York we recruited more than 96,000 volunteers—25,000 from out of state,” Mr. Azzopardi said.

Write to Khadeeja Safdar at khadeeja.safdar@wsj.com and Deanna Paul at deanna.paul@wsj.com

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in the March 20, 2021, print edition as ‘Governor Faces New Accusations.’

Source: WSJ – US News

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