First CURRENT Cuomo aide claims Gov harassed her by 'ogling her body, remarking on looks & making suggestive remarks'

A CURRENT aide of embattled Governor Andrew Cuomo has claimed he ogled her body and made suggestive remarks about her appearance.

Alyssa McGrath, an executive assistant to the New York governor, is the eighth woman to come forward alleging sexual harassment by Cuomo.

She detailed a number of unsettling interactions to the New York Times, saying Cuomo would often stare at her body, remark on her looks and make suggestive comments to her and another aide she worked with.

McGrath, 33, said the governor would call her and a coworker "mingle mamas," and would create an unjust work environment where he would ask about her lack of a wedding ring and the status of her divorce.

She claims he told her she was beautiful in Italian and while she was in his office await some instructions, he would gaze at her and remark on her appearance.

McGrath is the first current aide in the governor's office to publicly come forward about allegations of harassment against Cuomo.

She also says when a former aide alleged the governor groped her breast, the aide told McGrath that encounter in detail.

"She froze when he started doing that stuff to her," McGrath said. "But who are you going to tell?"

McGrath added that her co-worker, who has yet to be publicly identified, said the governor asked her not to go public about the alleged incident, nor to tell McGrath, knowing the two spoke about their interactions with Cuomo.

"He told her specifically not to tell me," McGrath said.

The current aide described a number of interactions with Cuomo, who would mix flirtatious banter with personal comments, and creating a competitive relationship among women in his office.

McGrath did not accuse the governor of making sexual contact, but said she believed his actions equaled to sexual harassment. She added the culture of secrecy and loyalty in the office led to his actions being glazed over.

She added that Cuomo, 63, made an odd work triangle between her and her colleague who alleges he groped her. This relationship would mesh between professional and unwanted attention.

"He has a way of making you feel very comfortable around him, almost like you’re his friend," McGrath said.

"But then you walk away from the encounter or conversation, in your head going, 'I can’t believe I just had that interaction with the governor of New York.'"

McGrath said these encounters grew increasingly uncomfortable for her and her coworker, who often spoke about Cuomo's interactions and was reason why Cuomo told her coworker not to tell McGrath he allegedly groped her.

McGrath, who has a small child, said she doesn't work directly for Cuomo but said she and her co-worker were often pulled from the pools of executive chamber assistants to work weekends and at his mansion.

A top scheduling official in the governor's office would send emails – viewed by the Times – to McGrath and her co-worker, and to other administrative assistants in the office, who were often women and several decades younger than Cuomo.

"Hi gals. Who can spend a little while with him when he gets back on the book signing project?" read one email sent to McGrath and her coworker on February 29, 2020.

McGrath and her coworker were sent to work alone with Cuomo that day in the Capitol when a planned trip to Florida came up. McGrath was separated from her husband and her coworker was married. Cuomo asked the coworker if she would try to meet men and "mingle" while in Florida.

Although all three laughed off the question, Cuomo gave them a nickname. "He called us 'mingle mamas' for the rest of the day," McGrath said.

On New Year's Eve, Cuomo sent a picture of him and her coworker, with their faces nearly touching. McGrath said she didn't understand why Cuomo sent her the picture unless it was "to make me jealous."

She added it was an unspoken understanding that Cuomo would try to create a competition between coworkers and pick favorites.

"We were told from the beginning that was a typical move of his," McGrath said. "Who was the girl of the week? Who was the girl of the month?"

McGrath said she experienced uncomfortable situations with Cuomo soon after she was hired in mid-2018. When she began working, Cuomo would ask McGrath is she spoke Italian – she does not – and would comment to her "how beautiful I was,' she said.

When she was once called into Cuomo's office for a dictation session, she sat opposite the governor with a pen and paper ready.

"I put my head down waiting for him to start speaking, and he didn’t start speaking," she said. "So I looked up to see what was going on. And he was blatantly looking down my shirt."

When Cuomo noticed her noticing him, he "made a reference, a subtle reference, saying, 'What’s on your necklace?' Which was in my shirt."

"My face turned really hot," she said of the incident, which she later shared with her coworker. She says there was an informal policy in place not to share anything with anyone outside the chambers.

"We were told right off the bat, as soon as we walk out of the office or as soon as we walk away from the governor, we were not to say a word about anything to anyone," said McGrath.

A lawyer for McGrath, Mariann Wang, said "this would be unacceptable behavior from any boss, much less the governor." Wang added McGrath's experiences was just one of many experienced by women in the governor's office.

"The women in the executive chamber are there to work for the State of New York," Wang said, "not serve as his eye candy or prospective girlfriend."

Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing after six – with McGrath making seven – current or former aides alleging sexual harassment or assault. A seventh accuser is a journalist.

He instead claims he was trying to foster a healthy work relationship with people he viewed as friends that may have been misinterpreted.

Rita Glavin, a lawyer for Cuomo, said "the governor has greeted men and women with hugs and a kiss on the cheek, forehead, or hand," in response to McGrath's claims.

"Yes, he has posed for photographs with his arm around them. Yes, he uses Italian phrases like 'ciao bella.'"

"None of this is remarkable, although it may be old-fashioned," Glavin ended. "He has made clear that he has never made inappropriate advances or inappropriately touched anyone."

Lindsay Boylan was the first woman to come forward about her experiences with the governor, saying he would ask her to play strip poker and kissed her without her consent.

Charlotte Bennett said the governor would ask her "creepy" questions in a way to gauge if she would sleep with him.

Ana Liss was the third woman to come forward, saying Cuomo would touch her back and kiss her hand, and would often call her "sweetheart."

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