A female event organizer told state probers in cringe-worthy detail how then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo allegedly “grabbed my butt” — and her shock at being “assaulted by the governor.’’
The woman was at a Hudson River revitalization event Sept. 14, 2019, when she said Cuomo grabbed her arm “to pull me into the photo,’’ according to explosive transcripts released by the state attorney general’s office last week.
“At the conclusion of the photo he took his hand and double tapped the area where my butt and my thigh meet, so kind of under my butt cheek,” the stunned worker told investigators probing a slew of sexual-harassment allegations against Cuomo.
”It felt like kind of his fingers moved two times upward to kind of, you know, grab that area between my butt and my thigh,” the woman said.
“I think immediately after I knew it was wrong but I think the weight of the situation was like a little heavy.
“We don’t want to — I didn’t want to think that I was, you know, assaulted by the governor.
“Maybe my jaw opened, like that’s how surprised I was that this occurred because it was just like, to me … you have to be joking,” said the woman, only identified as “State Entity Employee #1” in the transcript.
“I was really shocked. … I felt much like smaller and almost younger than I actually am because kind of the funny part of it all is I was making this project happen,” she said.
The woman said she immediately told her supervisor, to no avail.
“I think I said, you know, ‘the Governor grabbed my butt, touched my butt, patted my butt,’ something where I directly said that there was like an action towards my butt,” she said.
But she said her supervisor seemed “confused.”
“She gave me eye contact but …. there was no verbal acknowledgement. So I repeated myself and I said it a second time and so, again, there wasn’t a verbal acknowledgement that I had said that,” the worker recalled.
But the woman said she received support from family and friends — providing copies of text messages she exchanged with them afterward.
“Took a pic together and Gov. Cuomo patted me on the butt. YUCK,” she wrote in one text.
Still, in another text, the woman wrote that while she believed that Cuomo intentionally touched her, maybe the way he moved his fingers along her butt “was a mistake.”
She said she didn’t report the incident at the time because there had been no evidence or “pattern” in 2019 that the governor was mistreating or harassing women.
The employee said she also feared Cuomo’s power and that any potential retribution if she came forward could derail her career.
“It felt very scary to report something against someone who has so much power so — and I very much felt like the burden and the impact was going to be like fully on me. Like I was going to perhaps have my career impacted,” she said.
The incident allegedly occurred during an event Cuomo attended that was co-hosted by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the not-for-profit Hudson River Trust.
The trust, created by state law, has a governing board whose members are appointed by the governor and New York City mayor.
Cuomo told state probers that he didn’t even remember attending the event.
Asked if he touched anyone’s butt, Cuomo replied, “No.”
His lawyer, in a written rebuttal to AG Letitia James’ report, complained that the investigators didn’t even show the governor photos of the event to refresh his memory.
The lawyer, Rita Glavin, added that the worker’s “testimony was that the Governor ‘then moved his fingers upward to kind of grab that area between [her] butt and [her] thigh’ — not that he grabbed her butt.”
Glavin said it was a very public event that Cuomo attended with his daughters.
She said none of the photos and videos from Cuomo at the event showed any “untoward behavior” by the governor with anyone in attendance.
Either way, Glavine said, the woman’s claim does not amount to sexual harassment.
“If anything, the governor had fleeting physical contact with this individual as he posed for pictures. He did not intentionally ‘grab’ anyone’s butt,” Glavin said.
Cuomo resigned from office under the threat of impeachment in August after AG James’ bombshell investigative report concluded Cuomo had harassed or mistreated 11 women, including current and former staffers.
He was charged last month with criminal forcible touching in another case involving an accuser.
He has maintained his innocence.
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