A second former aide to Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has come forward with allegations of sexual harassment, which comes just days after his first accuser made her story public.
Charlotte Bennett, who The New York Times describes as “an executive assistant and health policy adviser in the Cuomo administration until she left in November,” alleges that Cuomo “asked her questions about her sex life, whether she was monogamous in her relationships and if she had ever had sex with older men.”
The 25-year-old staffer described to the Times an incident that took place in June when she was “alone” with the 63-year-old governor in his State Capitol office. According to the report, he allegedly asked her if she thought age made a difference in romantic relationships and that he was open to having relationships with women in their 20s, which were noted by the Times as “comments she interpreted as clear overtures to a sexual relationship.”
While Bennett alleges that Cuomo never tried touching her, the governor’s “message” during that exchange was “unmistakable to her.”
“I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” Bennett told the Times. “And was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job.”
According to the Times, Bennett disclosed the incident to Cuomo’s chief of staff Jill DesRosiers less than a week later and submitted a lengthier statement to Cuomo’s special counsel Judith Mogul towards the end of the month. She was also transferred to another job as a health policy adviser, placing her on the opposite side of the Capitol building.
Bennett told the Times she didn’t persist in seeking an investigation because she “wanted to move on” and that she was content with her new job.
In a press release on Saturday, Cuomo called Bennett a “hardworking and valued member of our team during COVID” who has “every right to speak out.”
“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, which was issued to the Times. “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.
As the Times noted in its report, the Democrat Governor did not deny Bennett’s claims about asking such personal questions.
Mogul also released a statement, which read in-part, “Ms. Bennett’s concerns were treated with sensitivity and respect and in accordance with applicable law and policy… 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.”
Lindsey Boylan, Cuomo’s first accuser, expressed her support for Bennett.
“I am with you Charlotte. We are with you. Always,” Boylan wrote. “I am so proud of you Charlotte.”
You can read Ms Boylan’s story here: