On Monday, a ninth woman accused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) of sexual misconduct, illustrating in detail how he allegedly grabbed her face and forcibly kissed her at her home.
Cuomo is currently being investigated by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) for the accusations of sexual misconduct, as well as separately for allegedly covering up data on COVID-related nursing home deaths.
“The whole thing was so strange and inappropriate and still makes me nervous and afraid because of his power and position,” said 55-year-old Sherry Vill, a married mother of three, during an afternoon press conference with attorney Gloria Allred, according to The New York Post. “I am still afraid of him, but I am no longer willing to remain silent.”
The alleged incident happened in May 2017, while the governor was touring homes in Greece, New York, which had recently been hit by flooding, including Vill’s. She and her attorney provided images of Vill and Cuomo together to corroborate her account.
Vill said Cuomo “took my hand and pulled me to him,” then he kissing her on the cheek in what she felt was in “a highly sexual manner.”
The governor tried to explain the inappropriate contact as a cultural norm, according to Vill.
“He said, ‘That’s what Italians do, kiss both cheeks,’” she recanted.
“I felt shocked and didn’t understand what had just happened,” Vill said. “But I knew I felt embarrassed and weird about his kissing me. I am Italian, and in my family, family members kiss. Strangers do not kiss, especially upon meeting someone for the first time.”
As he was departing, Cuomo “stopped, he turned to me and said, ‘You are beautiful,’” she recalled.
“That made me feel even more uncomfortable,” Vill said. “I felt as though he was coming on to me in my own home.”
Cuomo allegedly grabbed Vill’s face another time and kissed her on the cheek outside her house. This occurred in front of Vill’s son, who was recording the governor’s visit and snapped a picture of the contact, which was displayed at the virtual news conference on Monday, according to The Post.
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“I felt like I was being manhandled, especially because he was holding my face and he was kissing my cheek again,” Vill said. “The way he looked at me and his body language made me very uncomfortable. I felt he was acting in a highly flirtatious and inappropriate manner, especially in front of my family and neighbors.”
“I know the difference between an innocent gesture and a sexual one,” she also said. “I never felt as uncomfortable as I did the day that Gov. Cuomo came to my home. His actions were very overly sexual, highly inappropriate and disrespectful to me and my family.”
To learn more about the story and the accusation, read The New York Post‘s full article here.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.
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