13:03 GMT18 April 2021
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    Over the last several months, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has faced a slew of sexual harassment accusations from former and current administration aides who have alleged he took advantage of his political standing. Cuomo has repeatedly denied the allegations, stressing that his behavior was misconstrued.

    The unidentified staffer who recently accused Cuomo of groping her has spoken out and detailed various incidents in which the state’s most powerful politician spent years allegedly grooming her.

    The unnamed woman spoke to the Albany Times Union on the condition of anonymity and shed light on multiple aggressive and sexually suggestive encounters that took place over the course of roughly two years and allegedly involved Cuomo. 

    Speaking to the outlet, the woman alleged that Cuomo had been grooming her over the course of several incidents that saw the governor give hugs that got increasingly tighter and interactions that also saw him giving her kisses on the check. 

    "It was never in front of anybody. He made sure that it was either at the [New York State Executive Mansion] or, if it was at the Capitol, that no one was around," she said, adding that Cuomo avoided giving her hugs whenever other administration officials were present. “It felt calculated - he would totally act different [when others were present]."

    As the months passed, their physical embraces grew tighter, she told the outlet, explaining that she believed he was attempting to feel her breasts against his chest. 

    "Sometimes he would pull my whole body close to him. I remember purposely, like, taking my pelvis and pulling away. … I knew what he was doing," she said. 

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo walks with his daughter on the grounds of the Governor's Mansion following allegations that he had sexually harassed young women, in Albany, New York, U.S., March 12, 2021
    © REUTERS / ANGUS MORDANT
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo walks with his daughter on the grounds of the Governor's Mansion following allegations that he had sexually harassed young women, in Albany, New York, U.S., March 12, 2021
    Touching on similar allegations voiced by other accusers, the aide also stated that the governor made inappropriate remarks and inquiries into her personal life. At one point, Cuomo allegedly looked at her and remarked, “Oh, if you were single, the things that I would do to you.”

    However, the “first blatant move” that was committed by Cuomo occurred when the pair were alone inside his office and he had reportedly asked her to “take a selfie” with him.

    “I remember standing up in his upstairs office. I was holding up the phone. I was nervous. As the phone is up I feel him, like, not just sliding his hands, he’s like rubbing my butt cheek, but not saying anything,” she recalled, detailing that Cuomo later told her to send the picture they snapped together to another colleague before urging her to not show it to anyone else.

    Cuomo’s behavior, however, reached a new low as time went on. The unidentified aide told the Times Union that in November 2020 she found herself called to Cuomo’s office to help him with a phone issue. Once there, Cuomo came from behind his desk and began groping her.

    "And that wasn’t just a hug," she recalled. "He went for it and I kind of like was, 'Oh, the door is right there.' ... I was mortified that a woman who works here is going to come in and see. ... I was terrified of that happening, because that’s not who I am and that’s not what I’m here for."

    "I remember exactly what I was wearing," she said. "I remember him slamming [the door] so hard that I remember thinking to myself that I’m sure the staff is, like, 'Is everything OK up there?' He came right back and he pulled me close and all I remember is seeing his hand, his big hand. I remember looking down like, 'Holy s**t.'"

    Electronic billboard displays message for New York Governor Cuomo to Resign Now in Albany
    © REUTERS / Mike Segar
    Electronic billboard displays message for New York Governor Cuomo to "Resign Now" in Albany
    Cuomo had allegedly reached underneath her blouse and was cupping one of her breasts over her bra. The governor only pulled away from her after she called him “crazy.”

    “That was definitely not something that he wants to hear. It definitely was a hit to his ego,” she told the outlet. “And then it was almost like instantly he was done. … He turned around and walked back to his desk.”

    “He didn’t say anything. I walked myself out to the front door and nothing was said. ... It was almost like I felt like a piece of garbage to him. I felt degraded,” she added.

    The Times Union reported that individuals within Cuomo’s inner circle know who the accuser is, and that since the individual has remained working within the administration, she has been given fewer work assignments at the state Capitol since the accusations were made public.

    The groping allegations involving Cuomo have been considered one of the more serious accusations among the several that have been voiced against him. They have prompted an investigation by the office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James, as well as an impeachment inquiry by the New York State Assembly.

    Cuomo has repeatedly denied he committed any offenses, only admitting that his actions may have been “misinterpreted as unwanted flirtation.” He has also rejected any and all calls for him to resign as governor, vowing instead to serve New Yorkers for the remainder of his term.

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