NEW YORK — Lindsey Boylan was the first woman to step forward and share her story.
While she worked as an economic development official in the Cuomo administration, Boylan says she endures sexual harassment from the governor. It was everything from an unwanted kiss to the suggestion they play strip poker.
An attorney for Boylan shared her reaction to Attorney General Letitia James’ report that found Cuomo harassed 11 women.
“Ms. Boylan was the first person to bravely speak out about the governor’s pattern of sexual harassment and did so with the hope of making it safer for other women to come forward with their own stories,” said Jill Basinger. “We are not surprised by the results of this investigation because we know the survivors are telling the truth. We believe them. We all witnessed the governor’s retaliation. We are grateful for the extremely thorough work of the Attorney General and the investigators.”
Charlotte Bennett was the second woman to publicly accuse the governor.
“I do not want an apology — I want accountability and an end to victim-blaming,” Bennett said Tuesday.
The months-long investigation substantiated the women’s claims, as well as several others. From unwanted groping and hugs, to inappropriate comments.
Cuomo defended his history of kissing people.
He denied ever sexually harassing people and showed a photo montage of himself touching people’s faces and kissing them on the cheek.
“I actually learned it from my mother and from my father,” he said. “It is meant to convey warmth, nothing more.”
Sherry Vill only met Gov. Cuomo once in 2017. For her it was a brief and unforgettable encounter while touring storm damage in Greece, New York. The governor, in a moment captured via photo by her son, grabbed her face and kissed her without her consent.
Vill said the kiss was highly sexual and slammed his defense, which included deference to his Italian-American.
“I am Italian, I am 100% Italian, we do not kiss strangers,” Vill told PIX11 News Tuesday. “We definitely do not kiss in the manner that he was kissing me. He needs to come forward and admit what he has done and stop dismissing us women.”
Attorney Gloria Allred believes the time has come for accountability on behalf of Gov. Cuomo.
“The governor now has to learn the lessen — which I think he knew before but thought it didn’t apply to him, which it did — and there have to be consequences for sexual harassment, because it places women in a no-win situation,” Allred said.