A former aide to New York governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday published an essay detailing alleged sexual harassment she endured while working for the governor, including unwanted kissing and touching.
In an essay published on Medium, Lindsey Boylan, the former deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to the governor, expounded upon earlier allegations she lodged against the governor in a tweet thread in December.
She writes in the essay that Cuomo, with the help of top female aides, “created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected.”
She details an increasingly uncomfortable relationship she developed with the governor, in which he sought her out and set up one-on-one meetings with her.
Boylan recounted a flight she shared with the governor from an event in October 2017 in which Cuomo allegedly said, “Let’s play strip poker.”
On another occasion, Boylan says the pair met one-on-one for a briefing when Cuomo allegedly kissed her.
“We were in his New York City office on Third Avenue,” she writes. “As I got up to leave and walk toward an open door, he stepped in front of me and kissed me on the lips. I was in shock, but I kept walking.”
She later resigned on September 26, 2018.
She said she was warned by other staffers when she joined Cuomo’s administration in 2015 to “be careful around the Governor.”
Boylan said his behavior “was all so normalized — particularly by Melissa DeRosa and other top women around him — that only now do I realize how insidious his abuse was.”
She said she expects “the Governor and his top aides will attempt to further disparage me, just as they’ve done with Assemblymember Kim,” referencing Ron Kim, who recently accused the governor of bullying and threatening him.
Cuomo’s press secretary Caitlin Girouard denied the allegations on Wednesday: “As we said before, Ms. Boylan’s claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false.”
The press secretary adds that there was no October 2017 flight where Boylan was alone with Cuomo, a single press aide and a state trooper. John Maggiore, Howard Zemsky, Dani Lever and Abbey Fashouer Collins were on all October 2017 flights she shared with the governor and have said the conversation did not happen, a statement from Girouard says.
Cuomo said in December when Boylan’s allegations first came to light that there is “no truth” to her allegations.
“There is simply no truth to these claims,” Girouard said then.