Sixth woman accuses New York governor of sexual harassment

The newest allegation comes as the state’s attorney general is probing claims against governor Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo on Tuesday said he was 'not aware' of the most recent accusation, but again said he would not immediately resign [File: Seth Wenig/AP Photo]

A sixth woman has accused New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour, saying the official inappropriately touched her at his official residence last year, according to a report.

The Times Union, a newspaper in the state capital of Albany where the New York legislature is based, said the allegation had been made by an unidentified employee of the governor.

She did not file a complaint, the newspaper said, but her allegations were forwarded to the governor’s legal department and the state attorney general’s office.

The newest allegations come as state Attorney General Letitia James is investigating the prominent governor’s conduct.

Cuomo on Tuesday said he “not aware” of the most recent accusation, but again said he would not immediately resign. The 63-year-old Democrat repeated he would await the results of the investigation before taking further steps.

“I never touched anyone inappropriately. As I said last week, I never made any inappropriate advances. As I said last week, no one ever told me at the time that I made them feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo told reporters on Tuesday.

“Let the investigation get the facts and we’ll take it from there,” Cuomo said during a telephone briefing called shortly after the new charge was published.

Cuomo, who is currently serving his third term as governor of New York, gained international notoriety for his daily press conferences as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged New York City, the largest metropolitan area in the US, last year.

Growing accusations

The newest allegation further weakens Cuomo’s standing, with Republicans beginning impeachment proceedings in the state legislature, which is controlled by Democrats.

A former economic development director, Lindsey Boylan, has said Cuomo commented on her looks, summoned her to unnecessary meetings, joked that they should play strip poker and once kissed her on the lips at the end of a meeting.

A onetime aide, Charlotte Bennett, said the governor told her he was looking for a girlfriend and asked her about her sex life and whether she would be open to a relationship with an older man.

Another former aide, Ana Liss, said Cuomo kissed her on the hand and cheek and made flirtatious comments that did not initially bother her, but which she came later to see as patronising and improper in a work environment.

Allegations that Cuomo’s administration, which was initially praised for its response to the pandemic, sought to cover up COVID-19 deaths in  nursing homes in the state has also thrown the governor’s political future into question.

The New York state health department confirmed last week that members of Cuomo’s coronavirus task force had altered a report to show a lower number of nursing home deaths due to the virus.

The administration has maintained the changes were made due to concerns over the data’s accuracy.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies