ALBANY, NY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo was charged Saturday by another former female aide of sexual harassment.
The ex-assistant, Charlotte Bennett, told That that she was repeatedly made uncomfortable by Cuomo after she was hired in 2019 in the governor’s office.
In particular, the 25-year-old woman said the governor had asked her questions about her personal life, such as whether age makes a difference in a relationship.
She told it that while the Democratic governor never tried to touch her, she felt he was inappropriate, especially after an exchange on June 5 at her state’s Citol office in Albany as she worked on staff’s COVID-19 responses. .
She left the administration in November and had previously made her concerns known to her supervisors, per reported.
She had originally regarded Cuomo, 63, as a mentor, though she talked about how she grew up near her former home in New Castle and played football against one of his daughters; he has three daughters in their 20s.
“I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me and felt terribly uncomfortable and scared,” the Bennett Times reported. “And thought about how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job.”
In a statement, Cuomo denied that he had ever attempted to serve Bennett, and his office said the state would conduct an investigation into the incident by former federal judge Barbara Jones.
“Mrs. Bennett was a hard-working and valued member of our COVID team. She has the right to speak out,” Cuomo said.
“When she came to me and opened up to being a survivor of sexual assault, and how it threw her and her ongoing efforts to create an organization that allowed her voice to help other survivors, I tried to be supportive and helpful.”
The allegations of sexual harassment was the second in a week against the three-term governor who was first elected in 2010.
On Wednesday, former aide Lindsey Boylan wrote a post on the website Medium in which Cuomo sexually harassed her during her two-year job in the state government.
Boylan wrote in part, “Andrew Cuomo abused his power as governor to sexually harass me, as he had done with so many other women.”
Recent allegations against Cuomo
Bennett’s allegations gave rise to another round of calls for an independent inquiry into Cuomo and the executive chamber.
“The continuing allegations are deeply disturbing and worrying. The behavior described has no place in the workplace, “Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Yonkers Democrat, said in a statement.
“A truly independent investigation must begin immediately.”
It is uncertain whether a review of Jones would be satisfactory to lawmakers. Lawmakers have called for an investigation by Attorney General Letitia James or another external body.
But in order for James to conduct a full investigation, she would probably need a referral from Cuomo’s office, which he has not done.
Cuomo’s lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement: “Everyone deserves to have their voice heard and taken seriously. I support an independent review.”
The Sexual Harassment Working Group, which includes women who said they were abused while working in the state government, said Jones’ view was not enough, saying Jones once worked for the same law firm as Cuomo’s former top aide. and confidant Steven Cohen.
Doubtful conflict of interest or at least bias with this judge.
She worked for a company that Cuomo, a former consultant, started.
Working Group on Sexual Harassment (@harassment_free) February 28, 2021
“Doubtful conflict of interest or at least bias with this judge. She worked for a company that Cuomo’s former adviser started. Nothing good,” the group wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
“We need an Independent Investigation.”
The new allegations will put extraordinary pressure on Cuomo, who was already facing calls for his resignation and by some lawmakers an indictment for his handling of COVID deaths in nursing homes, including undercounting the deaths by approx. 50%.
More problems for Cuomo
Bennett told the Times that the most disturbing episode took place on June 5, when she was alone with Cuomo at Citol.
In a series of interviews this week, she said the governor had asked her several questions about her personal life, including whether she thought age made a difference in romantic relationships, and had said he was open to relationships with women in “20s – comments she interpreted as clear overtures to a sexual relationship,” wrote per.
Bennett said Cuomo during the exchange talked about feeling lonely during the pandemic, saying he “can’t even hug anyone,” and asked her, “Who do I hug last?”
After the interaction, Bennett said she told Cuomo’s chief of staff, Jill DesRosiers, about it and less than a week later was transferred to another job as a health policy adviser with an office on the opposite side of Citol.
Bennett said she subsequently made a lengthy statement to a special adviser to the governor, Judith Mogul, the writer wrote.
Beth Garvey, Cuomo’s special adviser, said in a statement Saturday that Bennett’s concerns were “treated with sensitivity and respect and in accordance with clear law and policy.”
Garvey added that when Bennett received the transfer she requested, she “thoroughly described the facts, which did not include a requirement for physical contact or inappropriate sexual behavior. She was consulted about the decision and expressed satisfaction and precision with the way whereupon it was dealt with. “
The decision was that no further action was needed, “which was in line with Mrs Bennett’s wishes,” Garvey added.
Separately, Cuomo’s office issued a statement from Garvey stating that “there are no limits to the scope of Judge Jones’ review.”
They provided her with biogrhy, which included her role in overseeing a federal review of sexual assault in the military. She also investigated allegations of abuse within the New York Philharmonic.
In his statement, Cuomo said that “the situation cannot and should not be resolved in the press. I believe that the best way to get to the truth is through a complete and thorough external review, and I urge all government employees to adhere to this effort.”
He added: “I ask all New Yorkers to await the results of the review so they know the facts before making any decision. I have no further comment until the review is complete.”
Follow Joseph Spector on Twitter: @GannettAlbany
This article originally beads on the New York State Team: Ex-assistant accuses government Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment