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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo accused of sexual harassment by second former aide, 25, who says he asked her if she had ever had sex with an older man

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (R), 63, was accused of sexual harassment by a second former aide in an explosive New York Times report released on Saturday night.

Charlotte Bennett, 25, told The Times Cuomo started asking personal questions of a sexual nature last May after previously acting as a mentor. Bennet now says she believes Cuomo was treating her with an interest in her life.

Cuomo denies harassing Bennett and Bennett says Cuomo never tried to touch or kiss her. However, Bennett says he her when she last kissed someone, if she was monogamous, if she slept with any of Cuomo’s staff, and if she had ever slept with a man older. elderly by telling him that he was open to dating women in their twenties. Bennett also said Cuomo focused on being a rape survivor.

File image.

Bennett reported the conversations to Cuomo’s chief of staff and a lawyer in his office. Bennett was transferred to the other side of Capitol Hill in Albany, but quickly left government and state. Bennett also shared simultaneous text messages with his family and friends with the Times about the alleged harassment.

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Bennett spoke to The Times after a reporter spotted his tweet commenting on Cuomo’s first former staff member to accuse him of sexual harassment, Lindsey Boylan, who accused Cuomo of several instances of harassment and of the embrace, “For those wondering what it’s like to work for the Cuomo administrator, read
The story of @ LindseyBoylan. “

Extract from the Times report.

A second former aide to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo accuses her of sexual harassment, saying he her about her sex life, whether she was monogamous in her relationships and whether she had ever had sex with men older.

Assistant Charlotte Bennett, who was an executive assistant and health policy adviser in the Cuomo administration until she left in November, told the New York Times that the governor harassed her late last spring, at the height of the state’s fight against the coronavirus. .

Ms Bennett, 25, said the most disturbing episode occurred on June 5, when she was alone with Mr Cuomo in his state Capitol office. In a series of interviews this week, she said the governor her many questions about her personal life, including whether she thought age made a difference in romantic relationships, and said he was open. to relationships with women in their twenties – she interpreted as clear openings to sex.

…Mrs. Bennett said during the June meeting the governor, 63, also complained to her of being alone during the pandemic, mentioning that he “can’t even kiss anyone”, before focusing on Ms. Bennett. She said Mr. Cuomo her, “Who did I last hug?”

…Mrs. Bennett said she tried to the question by responding that she failed to hug her parents. “And he was, like, ‘No, I mean like really hugging someone?’” She said.

… On May 15, she said she arrived at the Capitol around 7 am to find Mr. Cuomo already at work. Ms Bennett was there to file briefing papers, but Mr Cuomo was chatty, asking her about her love life and, in a chatty fashion, if she was involved with other members of the governor’s staff. She commemorated the exchange in several texts to another Cuomo staff member that The Times reviewed.

Ms Bennett said she mentioned a speech she was due to give to Hamilton students about her experience as a sexual assault survivor. She said she was taken aback by Mr. Cuomo’s apparent fixation on this element of his life experience.

“The way he kept saying, ‘You were raped and mistreated, attacked, assaulted and betrayed’ over and over again looking me straight in the eye was something that came out of a horror movie,” he said. she writes in a second text to her friend. “It was like he was testing me.”

In retrospect, said Bennett, she saw the May 15 meeting “as a turning point in our relationship.”

“Everything that was before I now see it differently,” she said. “I now understand this as grooming.”

…Mrs. Bennett left state government last fall and now lives and works in a neighboring state. She said her anger over what had happened continued to creep in and lead to her leaving.

“His presence was suffocating,” she said. “I thought I could recover and take some distance, but it’s so naive.

End extract. Please read the full New York Times report at this link.

Statements released by Cuomo’s office on Saturday night:

Statement by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

“Ms. Bennett was a hardworking and valued member of our team during COVID. She has every right to speak out.

“When she came to me and told me she was a sexual assault survivor and how that shaped her, and her ongoing efforts to build an that allowed her to help other survivors , I tried to support her and help her. Ms. Bennett’s initial impression was right: I was trying to be a mentor to her. I never made any advances to Ms. Bennett and I never intended to act inappropriately. The last thing I ever wanted was to make her feel one of the things that are being reported.

“This situation cannot and should not be resolved by the press; I believe the best way to get to the truth is through a full and thorough external review, and I ask all government employees to comply with this effort. I ask all New Yorkers to wait for the findings of the review so that they know the facts before making a decision. I will have no further until the end of the review. “

STATEMENT BY BETH GARVEY, SPECIAL ADVISOR AND SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE GOVERNOR

“Ms. Bennett’s concerns have been treated with sensitivity and respect and in accordance with applicable law and policy.

“The case was quickly referred to the special advocate. Ms Bennett received the transfer she had requested from a position in which she had shown a long-standing interest and was fully briefed on facts which did not include an allegation of physical contact or inappropriate sexual conduct. She was consulted on the resolution and said she was satisfied and appreciated with the way she had been treated.

“The decision taken on the basis of the information provided by Ms Bennett was that no further action was required, which was in line with Ms Bennett’s wishes.

“Although not required by law, the Governor has requested an independent review and all staff will cooperate in this endeavor. Former Federal Judge Barbara Jones will lead the review. “


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