Saturday night, New York Times released allegations from a second woman who says Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed her. Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year-old former assistant to the governor, recounts a pattern of inappropriate conduct, including probing questions about her sex life. In an exchange, Bennett told the Times, Cuomo inquired about his interest in older men, but made it clear that he was ready to date a woman as young as her. Bennett’s contemporary texts support his narrative.
After the Times published his article, a series of New York politicians – including the lieutenant governor and top New York City mayoral candidates – have called for an independent investigation into his allegations. Usually I would say that was exactly the right answer. But here I’m not so sure, for the simple reason that the Governor doesn’t actually seem to dispute any of the facts in Bennett’s account. The question, then, should simply be whether these facts are sufficient to justify Cuomo’s resignation or impeachment.
Cuomo did not explicitly confess to harassing Bennett. But the statement he released on Saturday night is most notable for what it doesn’t say: Bennett’s account is inaccurate. The governor insists he tried to act as a “mentor” and “never made any advances towards Mrs. Bennett, nor [he] intend to act in an inappropriate manner. ” It is do not a denial. There is no conflict between her story and hers: the governor may not have really tried to have sex with Bennett, and may not have consciously wanted to transgress the boundaries, and Still said everything Bennett reports. And those comments are classic sexual harassment, regardless of Cuomo’s subjective intent.
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