Seventh woman accuses N.Y. Gov. Cuomo of inappropriate conduct

"He wanted me to know that he could take my dignity away at any moment with an inappropriate comment," writes Jessica Bakeman.

Published: March 12, 2021 2:46pm

Updated: March 12, 2021 3:33pm

A seventh woman has come forward to accuse New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of inappropriate behavior.

"Andrew Cuomo’s hands had been on my body – on my arms, my shoulders, the small of my back, my waist – often enough by late 2014 that I didn’t want to go to the holiday party he was hosting for the Albany press corps at the executive mansion," former New York political reporter Jessica Bakeman wrote in a column for New York magazine posted Friday.

"I was 25 years old and working as a state house reporter for what is now Politico New York," Bakeman writes. "I had been on the capitol beat for a couple years by then. But I was still among the youngest reporters in the press corps, and one of the few women in the group whose job it was to report on the governor’s every move."

The reporter said she went to to thank Cuomo for inviting her to the mansion.

"He took my hand, as if to shake it, then refused to let go," she wrote. "He put his other arm around my back, his hand on my waist, and held me firmly in place while indicating to a photographer he wanted us to pose for a picture."

She wrote that she decided to let it go, thinking his inappropriate conduct would end quickly.

"I was wrong to believe this experience would last for just a moment," she wrote. "Keeping his grip on me as I practically squirmed to get away from him, the governor turned my body to face a different direction for yet another picture. He never let go of my hand.

"Then he turned to me with a mischievous smile on his face, in front of all of my colleagues, and said: 'I’m sorry. Am I making you uncomfortable? I thought we were going steady.' "

Bakeman said she didn't think Cuomo wanted to have sex with her, but "he wanted me to know that he could take my dignity away at any moment with an inappropriate comment or a hand on my waist."

The new report comes a day after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called for Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, to resign after a sixth woman accused him of sexual misconduct.

"It is disgusting to me," de Blasio said during a press conference. "He can no longer serve as governor. It's as simple as that."

Anna Ruch, a former Biden 2020 campaign worker, told The New York Times this month that the governor made unwanted sexual advances toward her after they met at a wedding in New York City in 2019.

She also accused Cuomo, 63, of kissing her without her permission, even as she tried to pull away. Ruch said the encounter left her “confused and shocked and embarrassed.”

Another accuser, Charlotte Bennett, a former Cuomo aide, alleges that the governor inquired about her sex life and asked her whether she would be amenable to a relationship with an older man.

And another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, said Cuomo "made inappropriate comments about her appearance, kissed her without her consent at the end of a meeting and once suggested they play strip poker while aboard his state-owned jet," the Associated Press reported.

Three more women have made similar allegations. The sixth woman said the governor groped her last year at the executive mansion after she had called there to do some work. She said she was alone with the governor in the mansion when he "closed the door and allegedly reached under her blouse and began to fondle her,” a source told the Albany Times Union. The incident has not been corroborated.

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