A second former aide to Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has come forward and accused the fallen Dem media star of sexual harassment. This comes just days after his first accuser went public with her allegations.
Charlotte Bennett, who The The New York Times called “an executive assistant and health policy adviser in the Cuomo administration until she left in November,” sunk Cuomo and accused him of asking “her questions about her sex life, whether she was monogamous in her relationships and if she had ever had sex with older men.”
“I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” Bennett told the New York Times. “And was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job.”
“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,” Cuomo said in a statement.
“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.”
Cuomo added that he will “have no further comment” until a “full and thorough outside review” of Bennett’s claims is conducted and concluded.
Cuomo did not deny Bennett’s allegations that he asked those creepy questions. Cuomo’s special counsel Beth Garvey said, “Ms. Bennett’s concerns were treated with sensitivity and respect and in accordance with applicable law and policy. The matter was promptly escalated to special counsel. Ms. Bennett received the transfer she requested to a position in which she had expressed a long-standing interest, and was thoroughly debriefed on the facts which did not include a claim of physical contact or inappropriate sexual conduct. She was consulted regarding the resolution, and expressed satisfaction and appreciation for the way in which it was handled.”
“The determination reached based on the information Ms. Bennett provided was that no further action was required which was consistent with Ms. Bennett’s wishes,” she added.
Creepy that’s for sure and even Cuomo seems to understand it and he is calling for an independent investigation. From Reuters:
“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,” Cuomo said in a statement on Saturday.
He called for “a full and thorough outside review” led by a former federal judge and said he would have no further comment until it was completed.
Bennett did not immediately return a request for comment sent via Twitter.
Cuomo rose to national prominence for his leadership at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, when New York was the country’s COVID-19 epicenter.
The latest accusations came just days after another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, wrote in an online essay that the governor made several “inappropriate gestures” toward her while she worked for the state government from 2015 to 2018.
They ranged from sending her a rose on Valentine’s Day to kissing her on the mouth, she said.
Boylan is now a candidate for Manhattan borough president.
Cuomo denied those accusations in December and issued another denial this week. Multiple attempts to reach Boylan have been unsuccessful.
Bennett, who is 25, told the Times that Cuomo said to her in one encounter in June that he was open to relationships with women in their 20s.
Bennett said she discussed the interaction with Cuomo’s chief of staff Jill DesRosiers and was subsequently transferred to a job as a health policy advisor to the governor. She also provided a statement to a special counsel to the governor, Judith Mogul, in June, she told the Times.