Former aide Charlotte Bennett has accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, according to a new report. She worked as an executive assistant and health-policy adviser and is the second woman to come out against the governor. She told the New York Times that the interactions took place last spring, as the coronavirus pandemic spiked.
Bennett said the governor asked several questions about her sex life and made her feel “horribly uncomfortable and scared.” He asked if she’d ever had a relationship with an older man and whether she thought age difference made a difference in relationships. He confided in her last June about looking for a girlfriend, during which he complained about being lonely during the pandemic and whined that he “can’t even hug anyone.” He then pressed her on who she hugged last.
“I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared. And [I] was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job,” Bennett said.
Bennett even told Cuomo of her experience as a sexual assault survivor, in which he seemed fixated on. She told a friend that he constantly repeated ‘You were raped and abused and attacked and assaulted and betrayed,’ over and over again while looking her directly in the eyes. She called it ‘something out of a horror movie and said she felt like Cuomo was testing her.
Bennett reported Cuomo’s conduct to his chief of staff and was transferred to another job with an office at the other side of the Capitol. She left the Administration in November.
Cuomo released a statement regarding the revelations and said Ms. Bennett was a “hardworking and valued member” of their team.
“When she came to me and opened up about being a sexual assault survivor and how it shaped her and her ongoing efforts to create an organization that empowered her voice to help other survivors, I tried to be supportive and helpful. Ms. Bennett’s initial impression was right: I was trying to be a mentor to her. I never made advances toward Ms. Bennett nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate. The last thing I would ever have wanted was to make her feel any of the things that are being reported,” the governor said.
Lawmakers have called for investigations into all allegations of harassment regarding Gov. Cuomo. “The continued allegations are deeply disturbing and concerning. The behavior described has no place in the workplace. A truly independent investigation must begin immediately,” said Senate Leader Andrea Steward-Cousins.
Rep. Elise Stefanik has also called for Cuomo to resign over the Lindsey Boylan allegations and said he was a “criminal sexual predator” who must immediately resign. Boylan, a former staffer, accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, including planting an unwanted kiss on her. Cuomo’s office also denied the claims and called them “quite simply false.”
Bennett also provided texts sent to friends and colleagues backing up her concerns about Cuomo in June.
Cuomo is also facing his handling and underreporting of nursing home deaths during the pandemic. He made the decision to delay the release of COVID death data while attempting to place the blame on former President Trump and the Department of Justice. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is also calling for an independent investigation into the accusations against Cuomo.
Even CNN will have to start covering this eventually.