ALBANY, N.Y. – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was accused a second former feminine aide of sexual harassment Saturday.
The ex-aide, Charlotte Bennett, advised The New York Occasions that she was repeatedly made to really feel uncomfortable Cuomo after she was employed in 2019 within the governor’s workplace.
Specifically, the 25-year-old lady mentioned the governor had requested her questions on her private life, similar to whether or not age makes a distinction in a relationship.
She advised the paper that whereas the Democratic governor no means tried to the touch her, she felt he was being inappropriate, particularly after a June 5 trade in his state Capitol workplace in Albany as she labored on the employees’s COVID-19 response.
She left the administration in November and had beforehand made her considerations recognized to her supervisors, the paper reported.
She had initially seen Cuomo, 63, as a mentor, even speaking about how she grew up close to his former residence in New Citadel and performed soccer towards one his daughters; he has three daughters all of their 20s.
“I understood that the governor needed to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” Bennett advised The Occasions. “And was questioning how I used to be going to get out of it and assumed it was the tip of my job.”
In a press release, Cuomo denied he ever tried to woo Bennett, and his workplace mentioned the state would undertake an investigation of the incident former Federal Choose Barbara Jones.
“Ms. Bennett was a hardworking and valued member of our crew throughout COVID. She has each proper to talk out,” Cuomo mentioned.
“When she got here to me and opened up about being a sexual assault survivor and the way it formed her and her ongoing efforts to create a company that empowered her voice to assist different survivors, I attempted to be supportive and useful.”
He added: “Ms. Bennett’s preliminary impression was proper: I used to be attempting to be a mentor to her. I no means made advances towards Ms. Bennett nor did I ever intend to behave in any manner that was inappropriate. The very last thing I’d ever have needed was to make her really feel any of the issues which might be being reported.”
The sexual harassment accusations had been the second in per week towards the three-term governor, who was first elected in 2011.
On Wednesday, former aide Lindsey Boylan wrote a submit on the location Medium that Cuomo sexually harassed her throughout her two-year stint working in state authorities.
Boylan wrote, partially: “Andrew Cuomo abused his energy as Governor to sexually harass me, simply as he had accomplished with so many different ladies.”
Newest allegations towards Cuomo
The allegations Bennett fueled one other spherical of requires an unbiased investigation into Cuomo and the chief chamber.
“The continued allegations are deeply disturbing and regarding. The conduct described has no place within the office,” state Senate Majority Chief Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat from Yonkers, mentioned in a press release.
” A really unbiased investigation should start instantly.”
Whether or not a evaluation Jones could be passable for lawmakers is unsure. Legislators have urged an investigation to be performed state Lawyer Normal Letitia James or one other exterior physique.
However for James to do a full investigation, she would probably want a referral from Cuomo’s workplace, which he has not accomplished.
Cuomo’s Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul mentioned in a press release: “Everybody deserves to have their voice heard and brought severely. I assist an unbiased evaluation.”
The Sexual Harassment Working Group, which incorporates ladies who mentioned they had been mistreated whereas working in state authorities, mentioned Jones’ appointment was not sufficient, saying Jones works for a similar legislation agency as Cuomo’s former prime aide and confidante Steven Cohen
“Questionable battle of curiosity or a minimum of bias with this decide. She labored for a agency that Cuomo’s former advisor began. No good,” the group wrote Saturday on Twitter.
“We’d like an INDEPENDENT investigation.”
The brand new allegations will put extraordinary strain on Cuomo, who was already going through requires his resignation and, some lawmakers, an impeachment for his dealing with of COVID deaths in nursing houses, together with undercounting the deaths about 50%.
Extra bother for Cuomo
Bennett advised the Occasions essentially the most troubling episode occurred on June 5, when she was alone with Cuomo on the Capitol.
“In a sequence of interviews this week, she mentioned the governor had requested her quite a few questions on her private life, together with whether or not she thought age made a distinction in romantic relationships, and had mentioned that he was open to relationships with ladies of their 20s — feedback she interpreted as clear overtures to a sexual relationship,” the paper wrote.
Bennett mentioned that throughout the trade, Cuomo talked about feeling lonely throughout the pandemic, saying he “can’t even hug anybody,” asking her, “Who did I final hug?”
Following the interplay, Bennett mentioned she advised Cuomo’s chief of employees, Jill DesRosiers, about it and fewer than per week later was transferred to a different job, as a well being coverage adviser with an workplace on the alternative facet of the Capitol.
Bennett mentioned she subsequently gave a prolonged assertion to a particular counsel to the governor, Judith Mogul, the paper wrote.
Beth Garvey, Cuomo’s particular counsel, mentioned Saturday in a press release that Bennett’s considerations “had been handled with sensitivity and respect and in accordance with relevant legislation and coverage.”
Garvey added that the Bennett obtained the switch she requested “completely debriefed on the information which didn’t embody a declare of bodily contact or inappropriate sexual conduct. She was consulted relating to the decision, and expressed satisfaction and appreciation for the way in which which it was dealt with.”
The willpower was that additional motion was not required, “which was in line with Ms. Bennett’s needs,” Garvey added.
In his assertion, Cuomo mentioned the “scenario can’t and shouldn’t be resolved within the press; I consider one of the simplest ways to get to the reality is thru a full and thorough exterior evaluation and I’m directing all state workers to adjust to that effort.”
He added: “I ask all New Yorkers to await the findings of the evaluation in order that they know the information earlier than making any judgements. I’ll haven’t any additional remark till the evaluation has concluded.”
Comply with Joseph Spector on Twitter: @GannettAlbany