A former aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Lindsey Boylan, accused the governor of sexual harassment earlier this week, but since this news broke, a few top Democrats on both the state and federal level have been silent.
One of the state’s most prominent female Democrats, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, on Thursday, a day after this news broke, denied that she had read Boylan’s personal accounting of the governor’s alleged sexual harassment.
"I have not read her allegations or her post, her Medium post, but as I said, everyone has a right to be able to come forward and speak their truth and be heard," Sen. Gillibrand said. "And that is true for her and that is also true for Gov. Cuomo."
In 2017, Gillibrand led the call against Senator Al Franken, pushing her former colleague to resign after he was accused of sexual harassment by numerous women.
Gillibrand said that this incident with Cuomo should be left up to the state legislature.
"I don’t know the investigative processes for the state government," Gillibrand said. "I have focused very intensely on the investigative standards here in the Senate, as well as for the House."
Five female Republican State Senators sent a letter to the Attorney General asking that she appoint a special prosecutor in this case.
The Attorney General’s office said they are reviewing the letter.
Congressman Antonio Delgado also responded to these allegations lodged against Cuomo.
"No one should experience harassment of any kind in the workplace or anywhere," Congressman Delgado said. "And we should treat these accusations very seriously. Bullying, abuse and threats aren’t acceptable. They’re just unacceptable, especially from a public servant."
Chel Miller, with the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault, says their organization is standing by Boylan and that speaking out requires courage.
"We should take these statements seriously when a survivor or a victim comes forward," Miller said. "It takes bravery, it takes a lot of courage, to name when someone has hurt you and to name that person, especially when they are someone with a lot of power."
The governor’s office has denied these allegations; however Cuomo has now skipped two of his scheduled press briefings since news broke of these sexual harassment allegations.
Stories of sexual assault and harassment can be triggering, so if you have experienced sexual harassment or assault, there are a free resources available:
- Call the New York State Hotline for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence for 24/7, free, and confidential support at 1-800-942-6906, or contact your county’s rape crisis center to speak with an advocate.
- Text or chat with a professional at the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. New Yorkers seeking help can text 1-844-997-2121 or chat on OPDV’s confidential website at www.opdv.ny.gov.
Access culturally appropriate support services:
- Black survivors can contact Black Women’s Blueprint: 1-646-256-1242.
- Deaf and hard-of-hearing survivors can contact IGNITE: DeafIGNITE@gmail.com or 1-585-286-2713.
- Latina/o, Latinx. and Spanish-speaking survivors can contact Casa de Esperanza: 1-651-772-1611.
- LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors can contact the Anti-Violence Project: 1-212-714-1141.
- Native survivors can contact the StrongHearts Native Helpline by calling 1-844-7NATIVE (1-844-762-8483), or Seven Dancers Coalition: www.sevendancerscoalition.com/resources-in-nys.
- Transgender and gender non-conforming survivors can contact the Trans Lifeline Peer Support Hotline: 1-877-565-8860.
- Survivors whose primary language is not English can call Womankind’s 24-hour multilingual helpline: 1-888-888-7702.