What Andrew Cuomo's Five Accusers Have Said About His Alleged Sexual Misconduct

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is coming under increasing pressure after two more women publicly accused him of being physically inappropriate with them.

The claims bring the total of women who have spoken out against Cuomo to five, since Lindsey Boylan first accused the 63-year-old of creating a culture of "sexual harassment and bullying" within his team.

Cuomo faces an independent investigation into the harassment allegations. New York state attorney general, Letitia James, will lead the probe into the claims outlined below.

The governor has denied the allegations against him.

In a statement released last week Cuomo conceded some of his words may "have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that."

Speaking on Wednesday, he said: "You know, my usual custom is to kiss and to hug and make that gesture. I understand that sensitivities have changed and behavior has changed, and I get it.

"And I'm going to learn from it. [...] It was unintentional, and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it and, frankly, I am embarrassed."

Lindsey Boylan

A former aide to Cuomo, Boylan was the first woman to come forward and publicly accuse the New York Governor of sexual harassment.

"Governor Andrew Cuomo has created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected," she wrote in a lengthy essay posted on Medium last month.

"His inappropriate behavior toward women was an affirmation that he liked you, that you must be doing something right. He used intimidation to silence his critics. And if you dared to speak up, you would face consequences."

She recalled her boss had informed her "the Governor had a 'crush' on me" and that he began addressing her as "Lisa" in front of colleagues, a reference to Lisa Shields—his rumored former girlfriend.

Lindsey Boylan
Former Aide Lindsey Boylan has come forward with an account of "sexual harassment and bullying" within New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration. Boylan attends The 9th Annual Elly Awards Hosted By The Women's Forum Of New York on June 17, 2019 in New York City. Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Women's Forum of New York

Boylan posted a screenshot of an email from Stephanie Benton, Director of the Governor's Offices, who said Cuomo had suggested Boylan and Shields "could be sisters" and the former was "the better looking sister."

As time went on, Boylan said she became "worried that I would be left alone with the Governor".

After Boylan's first complaint about his behavior, the governor said "it's just not true," and his office repeated the denial after her post on Medium.

Charlotte Bennett

A former health policy adviser to Cuomo, Bennett claimed the governor repeatedly mentioned her previous experiences with sexual assault and asked if she was "sensitive to intimacy" while they worked together.

"He asked if I had trouble enjoying being with someone because of my trauma," Bennett told CBS Evening News anchor Norah O'Donnell last week.

"The governor asked me if I was sensitive to intimacy, during the workday."

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, 2020 in New York City. Cuomo has been accused of sexual harassment by five women. Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

In a separate interview with The New York Times, Bennett said that the governor had revealed to her that he wanted a girlfriend and "was open to dating a woman" older than 22. At the time, Bennett was 25.

She added: "I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me. And was wondering how I was going to get out of it."

After Bennett's allegations, Cuomo said in a statement he had never made advances towards her "nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate."

Anna Ruch

Ruch told The New York Times Cuomo had asked her if he could kiss her, when she first met him at a wedding reception in New York City.

"I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed," said Ruch, a former member of the Obama administration and the 2020 Biden campaign.

"I turned my head away and didn't have words in that moment."

Breaking: A third woman has accused Cuomo of over-the-line behavior. Incredibly, a photographer caught the moment, and this look on her face: https://t.co/NnKCs1Y7WF pic.twitter.com/Smr4hNiKKp

— Jodi Kantor (@jodikantor) March 2, 2021

Karen Hinton

Hinton, who was once one of Cuomo's top aides, said she was made to feel uncomfortable when he hugged her in a hotel in California.

"He started asking me personal questions. I was uncomfortable with that conversation, Hinton said of the incident—which allegedly happened 21 years ago when Cuomo was a Cabinet member—during an interview with New York's NBC affiliate News 4.

"So I stood up to leave and he walked across from his couch and embraced me intimately. It was not just a hug. It was an intimate embrace. I pulled away. He brought me back. I pulled away again and I said 'look I need some sleep, I am going,'" Hinton told News 4 in her first TV interview about the incident.

"It was inappropriate. We both were married. I worked for him and it was too much to make it so personal and intimate."

Cuomo's office swiftly dismissed the claims.

"This did not happen," Peter Ajemian, director of communications for Cuomo, told Newsweek in an emailed statement.

"Karen Hinton is a known antagonist of the governor's who is attempting to take advantage of this moment to score cheap points with made-up allegations from 21 years ago.

"All women have the right to come forward and tell their story—however, it's also the responsibility of the press to consider self-motivation. This is reckless."

Meanwhile, in a separate interview with the Washington Post last week, Hinton claimed Cuomo's behavior was part of a "toxic culture".

In response to the story that appeared in the Post, Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to Cuomo, said: "The people of this state elected the governor to represent them four times during the last 14 years, and they know he works day and night for them.

"There is no secret these are tough jobs, and the work is demanding, but we have a top-tier team with many employees who have been here for years, and many others who have left and returned."

Ana Liss

The third former Cuomo aide to accuse him of sexual harassment said she felt reduced to "just a skirt" by the Governor's alleged behavior.

Liss told The Wall Street Journal Cuomo inquired if she had a boyfriend, called her a "sweetheart", touched her lower back and once kissed her hand.

Liss, who joined Cuomo's team in 2013, recalled that what initially seemed "harmless flirtations" swiftly gave way to a far more uncomfortable reality.

"It's not appropriate, really, in any setting," she said.

On Saturday, Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to Cuomo, added: "Reporters and photographers have covered the governor for 14 years watching him kiss men and women and posing for pictures.

"At the public open house mansion‎ reception there are hundreds of people and he poses for hundreds of pictures. That's what people in politics do."