KEY POINTS

  • The former aide said she was specifically summoned to Cuomo's mansion to fix an issue on his phone
  • The governor allegedly approached her and groped her breast over her bra in his office
  • The former aide's account is the most sexually aggressive allegation against Cuomo

A former aide who accused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of groping her in the Executive Mansion on Wednesday broke her silence to share a vivid account of the incident. 

In her first public interview, the unnamed accuser told the Albany Times Union that she was summoned to the governor's mansion when Cuomo had technical difficulties with his mobile phone. 

The governor allegedly contacted Stephanie Benton, one of his top executive assistants, and requested that they send a specific female staff member to handle the issue. The accuser said the governor came out from behind his office desk and began groping her immediately after she entered his second-floor office at the mansion. 

"And that wasn’t just a hug," she recounted. "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."

The governor released her to “slam the door shut” before walking toward her a second time to reach under her blouse and grasp one of her breasts over her bra. 

“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,'" the former staffer said. 

“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,'” she added. 

In response to her account to the Times Union, Cuomo denied his involvement in the incident. 

"I have never done anything like this," he said in a statement. "The details of this report are gut-wrenching."

At least 10 current and former employees have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment and misconduct in recent months. However, the alleged groping incident at the Executive Mansion is the most sexually aggressive allegation lodged against the governor. 

The incident has since been forwarded to New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is overseeing an investigation into sexual harassment accusations against Cuomo.

Protesters have gathered in New York to demand the resignation of Governor Andrew Cuomo over claims of sexual harassment Protesters have gathered in New York to demand the resignation of Governor Andrew Cuomo over claims of sexual harassment Photo: Afp / Kena Betancur