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Alleged victim says, 'I know the difference between an innocent gesture and a sexual one'
Another woman has come forward accusing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) of sexual misconduct, claiming he kissed her on both cheeks "aggressively and in a sexual manner" while he was touring her home after it was flooded in 2017.
But Cuomo's attorney dismissed the ninth accusation against her client, reiterating that "the Governor has greeted both men and women with hugs, a kiss on the cheek, forehead or hand for the past forty years."
What are the details?
Sherry Vill, 55, held a Zoom press conference along with her high profile attorney, Gloria Allred, on Monday, saying Cuomo grabbed her face and kissed it without her consent at her home in Greece, New York, while assessing flood damage in her home.
"He leaned down over me and kissed my cheek," Vill recalled, according to the New York Post. "I was holding my small dog in my arms and I thought he was going to pet my dog. But instead he went to squeeze between the dog and mine and kiss me on the other cheek in what I felt was a highly sexual manner."
Vill recalled that Cuomo explained at the time, "That's what Italians do, kiss both cheeks."
"I felt shocked and didn't understand what had just happened," Vill told the media. "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."
The married mother of three added, "I know the difference between an innocent gesture and a sexual one. 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."
As Vill's story gained traction in the news, Cuomo's attorney, Rita Glavin, issued a statement dismissing the accuser's claims as nothing new.
Glavin wrote, in part:
During times of crisis, the Governor has frequently sought to comfort New Yorkers with hugs and kisses. As I have said before, the Governor has greeted both men and women with hugs, a kiss on the cheek, forehead or hand for the past forty years. I encourage everyone to look at other photographs from his visit Greece, NY that day.
The Washington Examiner posted comparison photos online showing Cuomo kissing Vill, next to Cuomo kissing another unidentified person during the same trip.
Cuomo has been hit with several sexual misconduct claims in recent weeks, including an allegation that he groped a current aide under her blouse late last year. That allegation has been reported to police, and every allegation is being investigation by the New York attorney general's office.
Before the sexual harassment claims began rolling in, the Democrat was already facing criticism over allegations that his administration intentionally underreported nursing home fatalities related to COVID-19 last year, after he issued an executive order requiring long-term care centers to accept coronavirus-positive patients.
Several New York lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle have called on Cuomo to resign amid his scandals, and impeachment efforts are ongoing as he refuses to step down.
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