High-powered and noted feminist attorney, Gloria Allred, held a press conference via Zoom today, March 29, to introduce her client and Andrew Cuomo’s newest sexual harassment accuser – complete with pictures. Sherry Vill, 55, is a married woman with three children who claims the New York governor visited her home after a flood damaged the neighborhood, and while there, twice grabbed her face and kissed her cheek.
After Allred discussed her client’s case a little, Ville spoke, detailing her experience. The alleged incident took place on May 28, 2017. The accuser said a staff member from the governor’s office asked if they could enter her home to see the damages. Cuomo “looked at me, took my hand, pulled me close to him,” and then grabbed her face and kissed her cheek … with her son filming and watching the exchange, Vill said. “He wedged his face between the dog and mine and kissed me on the cheek.” At the time, she was holding her small dog in her left arm.
“That’s what Italian’s do,” Cuomo reportedly told her after the kiss. Vill told the Zoom audience that she is Italian and that “strangers do not kiss.” The face-cupping-cheek-kissing happened once again, this time outside the home. “He turned to me and said, you are beautiful,” Vill explained. “That made me feel even more uncomfortable.”
Vill claimed the harassment did not stop there. A few days after the governor’s visit, she received a voicemail from his office. A woman’s voice said there was an upcoming event that Gov. Cuomo wished to invite her to attend. “I was the only one who received the call and the personal invite from the governor,” she explained. Not even her husband was included. And then later, a letter arrived from Cuomo that also contained an autographed picture of the two of them together.
Cuomo has repeatedly refused to resign his political office and his apologies, if they can be considered such, have not been well-received by the alleged victims or the Swamp. “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people: women, men, children, et cetera,” he exclaimed earlier this month. “You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people, men, women. It is my usual and customary way of greeting.” Liberty Nation’s Managing Editor Mark Angelides has a different analogy:
“He’s conflating two different things … Like a magician, he’s asking the audience to look one way (at pictures that are entirely innocent), while trying to deflect from actions that are perhaps not so innocent. It’s a conjuring trick.”
But Vill insists, “I know the difference between an innocent gesture and a sexual one.” Allred said they are taking the matter to the attorney general’s office. “We’re not focused on the criminal aspect,” the women’s rights attorney asserted. “In no way are we suggesting that the governor should be prosecuted for what he did to Sherry.” Instead, she said her client wants a full and fair investigation of the governor’s actions with the results made public in a report. “Then she’ll make her decision as to what action she will take,” Allred explained.
The press conference was the first time the allegations have been made public, and Allred said they did not inform the governor beforehand.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.