Two more women came forward Saturday to accuse Gov. Cuomo of sexually harassing behavior, including a former press aide who describes struggling to free herself from his repeated hugs, and a young assistant who now says he left her feeling like “just a skirt.”
Former press aide Karen Hinton endured a “very long, too long, too tight, too intimate” embrace from Cuomo in a dimly lit Los Angeles hotel room in December 2000, she told the Washington Post.
The married Hinton pulled away, but “he pulls me back for another intimate embrace,” she told the paper. “I thought at that moment it could lead to a kiss, it could lead to other things, so I just pull away again, and I leave.”
At the time, Cuomo led the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
A current rep for Cuomo strongly denied Hinton’s allegation to the newspaper, claiming “this did not happen.”
The other new accuser, Ana Liss, a policy and operations aide who worked for the governor from 2013 to 2015, said he’d behaved inappropriately while on the job in Albany.
The governor called her “sweetheart” and asked if she had a boyfriend, Liss recalled to the Wall Street Journal.
Liss said Cuomo touched her on her lower back during an event, once kissed her hand and asked her if she was dating.
“It’s not appropriate, really, in any setting,” she told the newspaper. The Post could not immediately reach Liss.
Liss is the third former state employee and fourth woman overall to accuse the governor of varying degrees of sexual harassment. Hinton brings the total of accusers to five.
The mushrooming scandal has sparked repeated calls for investigation, Cuomo’s resignation and moved the state Legislature to finally revoke the governor’s emergency, pandemic-related powers.
Last month, former aide Lindsey Boylan detailed how Cuomo allegedly kissed her on the lips without warning in the governor’s Manhattan office.
Last week, Charlotte Bennett, 25, the second woman to step forward, revealed Cuomo had asked her inappropriate personal questions, told her he was open to relationships with women in their 20s, and left her feeling that he “wanted to sleep with me.”
Former Biden campaign worker Anna Ruch, 33, also came forward charging the governor gave her an unwanted kiss on the check at a Big Apple wedding, saying the 2019 encounter left her “confused and shocked and embarrassed.”
Liss described a May 2014 encounter with the governor in Albany’s executive mansion, where Cuomo approached Liss with the greeting, “Hey, sweetheart!” she said.
Cuomo then hugged her, planted his lips on both cheeks, put his arm around her lower back and grabbed her waist, she said, as they turned to a photographer to have their picture taken.
Now 35, Liss said she now views the interactions as having reduced her to “just a skirt.”
Boylan quickly voiced her support for Hinton and Liss in separate tweets.
“Thank you Karen Hinton for courageously sharing your story of how our boss, one of the most powerful men in the country, used his power to abuse you. I am sending you love. I am with you. We are with you,” she wrote.
She called Liss “brave,” adding, “It’s extremely destructive that our boss, the governor of New York, treated us this way.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Cuomo claims the encounter with Hinton “did not happen.”
“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,” said Peter Ajemian.
“All women have the right to come forward and tell their story,” he said. But he slammed Hinton’s account as “reckless.”
Liss’ allegations reflect nothing more than common behavior at public receptions, another Cuomo spokesman insisted in a statement.
“Reporters and photographers have covered the governor for 14 years watching him kiss men and women and posing for pictures,” said Rich Azzopardi.
“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.”
Additional reporting by Bernadette Hogan and Carl Campanile