|Seth Wenig-Pool/Getty, @jessicabakeman / Twitter|
Jessica Bakeman, a journalist formerly stationed at the New York State Capitol, has come forward as the seventh woman to level allegations of sexual harassment against embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).
Bakeman broke her silence about Cuomo in an essay published in The New Yorker on Friday, alleging that the governor placed his arm around her shoulders during a party at the Executive Mansion in 2012.
“He left it there, and kept me pinned next to him, for several minutes as he finished telling his story,” Bakeman, now an education reporter for Miami’s WLRN, recalled. “I stood there, my cheeks hot, giggling nervously as my male colleagues did the same. We all knew it was wrong, but we did nothing.”
In another instance, Bakeman alleges that the governor held her body tightly while she said goodnight at a holiday party in 2014.
“He took my hand, as if to shake it, then refused to let go,” she recalled. “He put his other arm around my back, his hand on my waist, and held me firmly in place while indicating to a photographer he wanted us to pose for a picture.”
According to Bakeman, Cuomo’s behavior toward her was not about sex but rather exerting “power.”
“He wanted me to know that he could take my dignity away at any moment with an inappropriate comment or a hand on my waist,” she wrote.
“The way he bullies and demeans women is different,” she added. “He uses touching and sexual innuendo to stoke fear in us. That is the textbook definition of sexual harassment.”