A second former aide to New York Gov Andrew Cuomo has accused him of sexual harassment, the New York Times reports.
Charlotte Bennett, 25, was an executive assistant and health policy advisor until she left in November. She told the Times that the harassment, which included questions about her sex life, whether she was monogomous, and if she’d ever had sex with older men.
Earlier this week, Lindsey Boylan, ex-special adviser and deputy secretary for economic development in Cuomo’s administration, published a Medium post in which she said that the governor “abused his power” to sexually harass her and other women in the workplace, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
A day later, the advocacy charity TIME’S UP called for an independent investigation into Boylan’s allegations.
In a statement to the Times about Bennett’s allegations, Cuomo, 63, said that he had requested an independent investigation into the allegations. He also said that he “never made advances toward Ms. Bennett, nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate.”
Beth Garvey, a special counsel to the governor, told the Times that Barbara S. Jones, a former federal judge in Manhattan, will the lead the independent review of the allegations.
Bennett told the newspaper that the most unsettling episode with Cuomo took place on June 5, when the governor reportedly told he he was open to relationships with women in their 20s, a statement she felt clearly indicated he was interested in a sexual relationship. He also complained about loneliness during the pandemic and not being able to “really hug” somebody.
“I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” Bennett said. “And was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job.”
Bennett said that Cuomo never tried to touch her, and that she had told the governor’s chief of staff about the incident and related the details to his special counsel. Shortly after that, she was transferred from her job as an executive assistant to health policy advisor with an office far from Cuomo’s. After the job change, she decided not to pursue an investigation. She liked her new job, she said, and “wanted to move on.”
Cuomo called Bennett a “hard-working and valued member” of his staff who had “every right to speak out.”
“The last thing I would ever have wanted was to make her feel any of the things that are being reported,” the governor said.
The Times said it contacted Bennett, and she agreed to talk about her experiences. She showed the Times text messages from that time, including message between her and Chief of Staff Jill DesRosiers and Special Counsel Judith Mogul.
“I have no problem with what they did,” she said, adding that both women were sympathetic to her concerns. “I have a problem with what the governor did.”
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[Featured image: NY Gov Andrew Cuomo (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP)