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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing another sexual misconduct claim.
In a newly published New York Times report, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett detailed the alleged harassment she experienced at the hands of the Democratic lawmaker. Bennett said she began working for the Cuomo administration in 2019, starting as an entry-level briefer before being promoted to executive assistant; however, she told the publication that it wasn’t until spring 2020 that Gov. Cuomo began acting inappropriately.
Bennett, who left Cuomo’s office back in November, said the governor would ask her uncomfortable questions about her sex life, such as whether she was in a monogamous relationship or had ever slept with an older man. She recalled one moment in June of last year, when the 63-year-old began speaking about the loneliness he felt during the pandemic and then asked her who was the last person she hugged—“like really hugged.”
“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 said she had reported the interaction to Cuomo’s chief of staff, Jill DesRosiers, less than a week after it occurred. She was then given a new role as a health policy adviser and transferred to another office on the opposite side of the Capitol. Bennett claimed she had also spoken to her family about her experiences with Cuomo, and disclosed the inappropriate encounters in a June statement to Judith Mogul, the Special Counsel to the Governor.
The Times obtained text messages between Bennett and her family, as well as her communications with DesRosiers and Mogul. Per the outlet:
The Times reviewed the messages and confirmed their contents with those who received them. Ms. Bennett also retained text messages from Ms. DesRosiers and Ms. Mogul that alluded to their meetings in June, but did not mention the subject matter.
When asked why she didn’t push for an investigation at the time, Bennett said she was happy with her new position and simply wanted to “move on.”
The report comes less than three months after another former Cuomo aide Lindsey Boylan accused the governor of sexual assault. Boylan shed more light on her alleged experience in a Medium post published earlier this week.
Cuomo addressed Bennett’s allegations in a statement Saturday night.
“… 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 statement read in part. “The last thing I would ever have wanted was to make her feel any of the things that are being reported,” he said. “This situation cannot and should not be resolved in the press; I believe the best way to get to the truth is through a full and thorough outside review and I am directing all state employees to comply with that effort. I ask all New Yorkers to await the findings of the review so that they know the facts before making any judgments. I will have no further comment until the review has concluded.”
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is among those who have called for an open investigation into the misconduct allegations.
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