Lindsey Boylan, a former aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo shared vivid detail attached with receipts to back up her previous sexual harassment claims she recently alleged, saying the embattled New York governor staffed with “other top women” enabled and “normalized” his “insidious” abusive behavior.
In her 1,700-plus-word bombshell essay posted on an online Medium post, Boylan who was the former deputy secretary for economic development and a special adviser to Cuomo from 2015 to 2018 wrote that the New York governor “created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected.”
“It 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,” Boylan wrote on the post published on Wednesday.
The Democratic candidate for Manhattan borough president bombshell detailed claims come as Cuomo whose star power has taken a heavy blow is engulfed in a slew of legal and political reckoning, both locally and nationally following The New York Post shocking revelation report. The scoop from the Post revealed a leaked call Cuomo’s top aide Melissa DeRosa made to Democratic lawmakers earlier this month admitting the administration withheld the true nursing home residents’ death toll data out of fear it would be “used against us” by Trump’s DOJ.
Since DeRosa’s revelation, New York lawmakers on both sides of the aisles have sparked calls for Cuomo to be impeached along with Congressional, FBI, and Brooklyn US Attorney’s Office all opening investigations towards the New York’s governor’s handling of nursing homes amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In October 2017, Boylan shared one incident where she alleged that Cuomo made a “crude comment” in suggesting they both play a provocative game of strip poker as they were “flying home from an October 2017 event in Western New York on his taxpayer-funded jet.”
“Let’s play strip poker,” Boylan began her Medium piece, quoting the governor, as they were sitting in the plane facing each other that was “so close our knees almost touched,” in the presence of a state trooper and his press aide.
In another incident, Boylan detailed how she began to “truly fear” Cuomo starting in December 2016 after being summoned by his body person to come to the governor’s office in Albany. She wrote that after “being escorted” by the body person into the governor’s office, they were both alone in his office and Cuomo began showing off a gifted cigar box given to him by former President Bill Clinton. Boylan stated she took the hint as a “reference to Clinton’s [infamous sexual] affair with Monica Lewinsky.”
Boylan also shared screenshots of government emails, with one email from Cuomo’s Director of the Governor’s Offices, Stephanie Benton conveying a message from the governor where he referenced that she looked like his rumored ex-girlfriend but “better looking.”
“He said look up Lisa Shields. You could be sisters. Except you’re the better-looking sister,” the Dec. 14, 2016, email exchange screenshot read.
“The Governor began calling me ‘Lisa’ in front of colleagues,” Boylan added. “It was degrading.”
Before resigning in September 2018, Boylan recalled how Cuomo’s “inappropriate gestures” became more frequent but tried to excuse his behavior by rationalizing it as “only words,” until one event following a one-on-one briefing changed her outlook.
“I tried to excuse his behavior. I told myself ‘it’s only words,'” she wrote. “We were in his New York City office on Third Avenue. 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 added, “After that, my fears worsened. I came to work nauseous every day. My relationship with his senior team — mostly women — grew hostile after I started speaking up for myself. I was reprimanded and told to get in line by his top aides, but I could no longer ignore it.”
Boylan revealed following the series of tweets she shared last December where she first alleged the sexual harassment, “two women reached out” to her and began sharing “their own experiences,” but “are too afraid to speak out.”
“One described how she lived in constant fear, scared of what would happen to her if she rejected the Governor’s advances,” Boylan wrote. “The other said she was instructed by the Governor to warn staff members who upset him that their jobs could be at risk. Both told me they are too afraid to speak out.”
The former aide said on Wednesday that she decided to share to the world her accusations of sexual harassment following reports that President Joe Biden was considering Cuomo as a potential candidate for U.S. Attorney General that “set me off.”
“In a few tweets, I told the world what a few close friends, family members, and my therapist had known for years: Andrew Cuomo abused his power as Governor to sexually harass me, just as he had done with so many other women,” Boylan wrote Wednesday. “I’m compelled to tell my story because no woman should feel forced to hide their experiences of workplace intimidation, harassment, and humiliation — not by the Governor or anyone else.”
“I expect the Governor and his top aides will attempt to further disparage me, just as they’ve done with Assemblymember Kim. They’d lose their jobs if they didn’t protect him. That’s how his administration works. I know because I was a part of it,” she added.
However, at that time, Boylan’s claims were met with skepticism as she didn’t provide any specific details to back up her allegation along with her refusal to comment more on the matter to reporters.
“Yes, @NYGovCuomo sexually harassed me for years. Many saw it, and watched,” Boylan tweeted in December. “I could never anticipate what to expect: would I be grilled on my work (which was very good) or harassed about my looks. Or would it be both in the same conversation? This was the way for years.”
Cuomo previously denied Boylan’s allegations back in December, while his office leaked bits of Boylan’s past work record to undermine her claims.
“It’s not true,” Cuomo said when pressed during a press briefing the following day after the allegations claims were made by Boylan.
“Look, I fought for and I believe a woman has the right to come forward and express her opinion and express issues and concerns that she has,” Cuomo added. “But it’s just not true.”
Cuomo’s office didn’t immediately return a request for comment.