- A former Cuomo aide alleged the governor sexually harassed her last spring.
- Charlotte Bennett, 25, said Cuomo made sexual advances and asked her inappropriate questions.
- The news comes days after another ex-Cuomo aide wrote a Medium essay detailing similar allegations.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
A second former aide has come forward to allege that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed her, asking deeply personal questions about her sex life and making strange comments about her experience as a sexual assault survivor.
In an interview published Saturday, Charlotte Bennett, 25, told The New York Times that Cuomo had made unwanted sexual advances towards her in several different encounters last spring.
“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.”
The news comes just days after another former Cuomo aide, Lindsey Boylan, published a Medium essay alleging several years of sexual harassment at Cuomo’s hands, including an unwanted kiss on the lips. Cuomo has denied Boylan’s allegations.
Cuomo’s office provided Insider with a statement denying that the governor made advances toward Bennett and saying he hadn’t intended to act inappropriately during their conversations. Cuomo’s statement also announced a “full and thorough outside review” of Bennett’s allegations and urged New Yorkers to withhold judgment until the investigation’s findings are made public.
“Ms. Bennett was a hardworking and valued member of our team during COVID. She has every right to speak out,” Cuomo’s statement said, adding that he had tried to act as a mentor to Bennett. “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 continued: “The last thing I would ever have wanted was to make her feel any of the things that are being reported.”
Cuomo’s office also said the investigation will be conducted by Barbara Jones, a former federal judge, and that there would be “no limits on the scope of Judge Jones’ review.”
Bennett said Cuomo responded strangely when she mentioned her experience as a sexual assault survivor
Bennett said the first disturbing incident involving Cuomo occurred on May 15 at the Capitol, when the governor asked her if she was romantically involved with other staff members. Later in the conversation, Bennett offhandedly mentioned her past as a sexual assault survivor and said that Cuomo had a bizarre reaction.
Bennett provided the Times with text messages she sent to a friend at the time about Cuomo’s remarks.
“The way he was repeating, ‘You were raped and abused and attacked and assaulted and betrayed,’ over and over again while looking me directly in the eyes was something out of a horror movie,” Bennett’s text said. “It was like he was testing me.”
Bennett told the Times another upsetting encounter occurred just weeks later, on June 5. On that occasion, she said Cuomo asked her personal questions about whether her romantic relationships were monogamous and if she had ever had sex with an older man.
Bennett said that Cuomo never touched her during these encounters but that she interpreted his comments as sexual advances.
The Times confirmed Bennett’s allegations with one of her friends, who was not identified, and Bennett’s mother, who she also told about the conversations.
Bennett said she told Cuomo’s chief of staff about the June 5 encounter just days later and gave a statement to a special counsel to the governor that same month. Bennett said she was then transferred to a new job, which she was happy with, and did not insist on an investigation because she “wanted to move on.”
A statement provided to Insider from Beth Garvey, special counsel and senior adviser to the governor, said Bennett’s allegations “were treated with sensitivity and respect and in accordance with applicable law and policy.”
Garvey said Bennett transferred to a job “in which she had expressed long-standing interest” and “expressed satisfaction and appreciation for the way in which it was handled.”