New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been accused of sexual harassment by a second former aide, according to the New York Times.
Charlotte Bennett, a former executive assistant and health policy adviser to the Cuomo administration up until November of last year, told the Times that Cuomo had asked her sever questions about her sex life - including whether she ever had sex with older men, and whether she was monogamous in her relationships.
He also allegedly told her during a June, 2020 encounter that the 63-year-old governor complained about being 'lonely during the pandemic,' and that he "can't even hug anyone."
Ms. Bennett, 25, said the most unsettling 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 had asked her numerous questions about her personal life, including whether she thought age made a difference in romantic relationships, and had said that he was open to relationships with women in their 20s — comments she interpreted as clear overtures to a sexual relationship. -New York Times
Cuomo told The Times on Saturday that he thought he was acting as a mentor, and "never made advances toward Ms. Bennett, nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate, before asking for an independent review of the matter - and imploring New Yorkers to await the results "before making any judgements."
Bennett related an exchange in which she felt Cuomo made clear he wanted to sleep with her.
Ms. Bennett said that during the June encounter, the governor, 63, also complained to her about being lonely during the pandemic, mentioning that he “can’t even hug anyone,” before turning the focus to Ms. Bennett. She said that Mr. Cuomo asked her, “Who did I last hug?” Ms. Bennett said she had tried to dodge the question by responding that she missed hugging her parents. “And he was, like, ‘No, I mean like really hugged somebody?’” she said. Mr. Cuomo never tried to touch her, Ms. Bennett said, but the message of the entire episode was unmistakable to her. -New York Times
"I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared," Bennett said. "And was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job."
Bennett says she reported the interaction to Cuomo's chief-of-staff, Jill DesRosiers, less than a week later - and was subsequently transferred to another job as a health policy adviser, where her office was located on the other side of the Capitol. Bennett also says she reported the incident to a special counsel to the governor, Judith Mogul, towards the end of last June - after which she chose not to insist on an investigation because she "wanted to move on" with her new job.
Cuomo, in his statement, called Bennett a "hard-working and valued member" of his staff who had "every right to speak out," revealing that she had opened up to him about being a survivor of sexual assault.
"The last thing I would ever have wanted was to make her feel any of the things that are being reported," said Cuomo, who did not deny asking Bennett personal questions.
Bennett's accusation comes less than a week after a woman accused Cuomo of sexually harassing her several times between 2016 and 2018, at one point allegedly giving her an unsolicited kiss on the lips at his Manhattan office.
Cuomo says Boylan is lying.