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Cuomo accuser details sexual assault allegation

Apr 07, 2021 3:11 pm

Brendan J. Lyons in the Times Union talks with the anonymous staff member of Andrew Cuomo who is accusing the governor of sexually assaulting her. Cuomo, the story says, first contacted one of his top executive assistants, Stephanie Benton, and requested she get a specific female staff member, half his age, to handle a minor assignment. When the woman arrived the governor came out from behind his desk, and began groping her. "And that wasn’t just a hug," she said. "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." She said she was worried whatever she did next could cost her job. "I said to him, I said, 'You’re going to get us in trouble,'" she recalled. "I didn’t know what else to say. … It was pretty much like 'What are you doing?' That’s when he slammed the door (shut). He said, 'I don’t care.'" She says, "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 sh_.,'" as she claims Cuomo reached under her blouse and grasped one of her breasts over her bra. "I was just so confused and so taken aback by it. … He never said anything, which was odd," she said. "At this moment, I don’t know what to say — I don’t know what to do. Now my hives are coming out. I’m, like, swearing in my mind. I remember I walked out and he walked back into his office. ... I remember going downstairs and escorting myself out and going to my car and sitting there for a second and going, 'OK, I have to now go back into the Capitol, go back to my desk and do my job and pretend that, like, that didn’t just happen.'... I didn’t have another choice. I remember (thinking), 'You have to pull yourself together … even if you have to sit here for a couple minutes to do that,'" she continued. "If I told someone, I’m done. And who do you tell?" Read more about this story in the Times Union.