A second former aide has come ahead with sexual harassment allegations towards New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who responded with an announcement Saturday saying he by no means made advances towards her and by no means supposed to be inappropriate.
Charlotte Bennett, a well being coverage adviser within the Democratic governor’s administration till November, instructed The New York Instances that Cuomo requested her inappropriate questions on her intercourse life, together with whether or not she had ever had intercourse with older males.
One other former aide, Lindsey Boylan, a former deputy secretary for financial growth and particular adviser to the governor, not too long ago accused Cuomo of subjecting her to an undesirable kiss and inappropriate feedback. Cuomo denied the allegations.
Cuomo stated in an announcement Saturday that Bennett was a “hardworking and valued member of our workforce throughout COVID” and that “she has each proper to talk out.”
He stated he had supposed to be a mentor for Bennett, who’s 25.
“I by no means made advances towards Ms. Bennett nor did I ever intend to behave in any approach that was inappropriate,” Cuomo’s assertion stated. “The very last thing I’d ever have needed was to make her really feel any of the issues which might be being reported.”
Cuomo, nevertheless, stated he had licensed an out of doors evaluation of Bennett’s allegations.
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The governor’s particular counsel, Beth Garvey, stated that evaluation could be performed by a former federal decide, Barbara Jones.
“I ask all New Yorkers to await the findings of the evaluation in order that they know the information earlier than making any judgements,” Cuomo stated. “I’ll haven’t any additional remark till the evaluation has concluded.”
The pair of harassment allegations signify a deepening disaster for Cuomo, who simply months in the past was on the peak of his reputation for his management in the course of the peak of the coronavirus pandemic final spring.
In current weeks, he has been assailed, even by some fellow Democrats, over revelations that his administration had considerably underreported COVID-19 deaths in nursing houses.
A state assemblyman went public with complaints that Cuomo had threatened to destroy him politically over statements he made within the press, prompting different politicians to share tales about having been bullied by the governor.
Bennett didn’t instantly return a Twitter message in search of remark Saturday evening.
She instructed the Instances that her most annoying interplay with Cuomo occurred final June 5 when she was alone with him in his Albany workplace. She stated Cuomo began asking her about her private life, her ideas on romantic relationships, together with whether or not age was an element, and stated he was open to relationships with girls of their 20s.
Bennett stated she additionally dodged a query from Cuomo about hugging by saying she missed hugging her mother and father. She stated Cuomo by no means touched her.
“I understood that the governor needed to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” Bennett instructed the Instances. “And was questioning how I used to be going to get out of it and assumed it was the top of my job.”
Bennett stated Cuomo additionally instructed her he needed a girlfriend, “ideally within the Albany space,” and he was lonely since breaking apart in 2019 with Sandra Lee, a chef and TV character.
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Bennett additionally stated she tried to vary the topic when Cuomo’s feedback had been making her uncomfortable, telling him she was considering of getting a tattoo. Cuomo, she instructed the Instances, responded by suggesting she put the tattoo on her buttocks to keep away from folks seeing it when she wore a costume.
Bennett stated she knowledgeable Cuomo’s chief of employees, Jill DesRosiers, concerning the interplay lower than every week later. She stated she was transferred to a different job on the other aspect of the Capitol. On the finish of June, she stated she additionally gave an announcement to a particular counsel for Cuomo.
Garvey acknowledged that the grievance had been made and that Bennett had been transferred because of this to a place during which she had already been .
Garvey stated in an announcement that Bennett’s allegations “didn’t embrace a declare of bodily contact or inappropriate sexual conduct” and Bennett “was consulted concerning the decision, and expressed satisfaction and appreciation for the best way during which it was dealt with.”
“The willpower reached based mostly on the data Ms Bennett supplied was that no additional motion was required which was in line with Ms Bennett’s needs,” Garvey stated.
Bennett instructed the newspaper she determined to not push for any additional motion by the administration. She stated she preferred her new job and “needed to maneuver on.”
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Jones, who will oversee the investigation, was appointed to the bench by President Invoice Clinton, a Democrat, in 1995. As a decide, she struck down a portion of the Defence of Marriage Act denying federal recognition of same-sex marriage in a ruling later upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court docket.
After retiring, she joined the regulation agency Bracewell LLP, the place her work focuses on company compliance and investigations.
Her arbitration work included a 2014 determination throwing out Ray Rice’s suspension by the NFL for punching his fiance in an elevator in an assault recorded on video.
Boylan stated in Twitter postings Saturday evening that she was pleased with Bennett and alleged Cuomo “tried to destroy many, together with me, within the press.”
“You aren’t going to derail or destroy any extra lives,” she tweeted.
© 2021 The Canadian Press