A second former aide to the Democratic New York governor has accused Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment in the wake of the publication of a Medium post by Lindsey Boylan on Wednesday.
Charlotte Bennett is a 25-year-old former aide to Cuomo who charged that the 63-year-old governor asked her inappropriate questions, said that he was open to relationships with women in their 20s, and made her feel like he wanted to “sleep with” her, according to the New York Post.
Bennett said the incidents happened last spring as the coronavirus flared. Cuomo didn’t make any physical advances toward her, she said, as the Post noted.
He did reportedly talk about being lonely because of the coronavirus and because he ended a relationship in 2019.
“Uncomfortable and scared”
Bennett also said Cuomo complained that he couldn’t remember the last time he “really” hugged someone. “I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” she said, according to the New York Post. “And [I] was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job.”
Bennett, who is around the same age as Cuomo’s oldest daughters, said she told Cuomo about her experience as a sexual assault survivor and that he seemed strangely fascinated by her revelation.
“The way he was repeating, ‘You were raped and abused and attacked and assaulted and betrayed,’ over and over again while looking me directly in the eyes was something out of a horror movie,” Bennett reportedly texted a friend about the experience. “It was like he was testing me.”
Bennett left Cuomo’s administration in November, the Post reported.
Cuomo denies claims
Cuomo has denied the allegations by Bennett, according to the Post, saying 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.
An independent review was previously requested by Cuomo, and he appointed a judge to lead it. Special adviser to Cuomo, Beth Garvey, said there would be no limit to the scope of the investigation.
After Bennett came forward, however, members of Congress called for “truly” independent review, and similar calls were made by state Attorney General Letitia James, the White House, and others.
State House and Senate leaders are also calling for investigations, according to the Post, with Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins saying, “The behavior described has no place in the workplace.”