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Lindsey Boylan speaks out after coming forward with sexual harassment claim against Andrew Cuomo

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Lindsey Boylan is speaking out about how her life has changed since coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment against her former boss, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In an interview published in Harper’s Bazaar magazine, Boylan spoke about a young woman who approached her after she went public about the “toxic work environment” in the Cuomo administration. The woman told Boylan that her experience was “similar to my own,” Boylan recalled.

“It really broke my heart, because she’s younger than I am and I couldn’t protect her,” Boylan said. “I had more sympathy for myself after I heard this young woman’s story. It helped me process my own experience. That was incredibly important for me, because a big aspect of my sense of success in the world is trying to not let anything affect me. Trying to be perfect. Trying to marshal forward, never cry, never feeling it.”

Boylan said she began tweeting about her experience after hearing Cuomo’s name floated as a possible attorney general under President Biden. 

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“My husband said, ‘Why didn’t you tell me you were going to tweet this?’ I think part of me was unwilling to do that, because I knew that someone would talk me out of it,” Boylan said. “I felt like I had to do it. But those first tweets were not planned at all.”

Boylan said she was also inspired to come forward after watching an interview of recently deceased actress Cicely Tyson, in which she tearfully shared her own experience of sexual harassment more than 50 years after it occurred. 

“I always thought that if I was ever going to tell my story, it was going to be many, many years from now. But the Tyson interview really resonated with me. It shows you how much abuse affects people,” Boylan said. 

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The former deputy secretary for economic development and a special adviser to Cuomo, alleged in a damning essay last week that the governor made inappropriate comments, repeatedly touched her, and forcibly kissed her lips during a one-on-one briefing. Cuomo has denied her claims. 

Boylan said coming forward with her claims “felt like I had intentionally blown up my own body into pieces all over the world” but she felt compelled to tell her own story instead of allowing the media to do so. 

Earlier this week, Anna Ruch told The New York Times Cuomo had made inappropriate advances toward her at a 2019 wedding reception. Boylan said Ruch’s account made her “feel nauseous” and she felt a “tremendous amount of love for her.”

Boylan said she had never interacted with Ruch, she had done so with the governor’s third accuser, Charlotte Bennett — a former Cuomo aide like Boylan. 

Lindsey Boylan, pictured in 2019. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Women's Forum of New York)

Lindsey Boylan, pictured in 2019. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Women’s Forum of New York)
(Getty Images)

“I just want the abuse to stop. I’m really not focused on punishment. I’m focused on accountability,” Boylan said. “And I think we’re seeing somewhat the way the governor (and his administration) operates, the way that they are, and it’s being seen in real time. And I think that’s really unfortunate, but probably necessary.”

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She closed by recalling what a good friend had told her: “You know, Lindsey, your life didn’t change when you spoke out. Your life changed when these things happened to you.”

“I just thought that was so profound. It helped me feel a little free,” Boylan said. “It is a very difficult experience, coming forward. And, at the same time, we need to have people feel more comfortable to do it. And the only way that’s going to happen is if more and more people do it. I can’t fix what happened, but I am not going to let that be the story. I’m certainly not going to let that be the story for my daughter. I think we really do have to do a lot of work to demystify who commits abuse of power, who is abused, what that looks like. And that’s not a day training. That’s a deep part of the work that we have to do.”

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