Cuomo skipped sexual harassment training – that he himself mandated – by having a staffer complete it for him, accuser says

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Jeenah Moon/Getty Images
  • Gov. Cuomo made sexual harassment training mandatory for state employees in 2018.
  • But in 2019, Cuomo skipped it and had a staffer complete it for him, a former aide says.
  • That aide is also one of three women who have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment.
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In 2018, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made sexual harassment training mandatory for employees in the state as part of his anti-sexual harassment agenda.

In 2019, the governor skipped the training and instead had a staffer complete it for him, according to a woman who also worked for Cuomo at the time and has since accused him of sexual harassment.

Charlotte Bennett, 25, was the second woman to come forward with accusations against Cuomo, including that he asked her deeply personal sexual questions and made inappropriate comments about her sexual assault.

In an interview with CBS that aired Thursday and Friday, Bennett, a former aide to Cuomo, recounted her experiences, adding that Cuomo did not take the sexual harassment training in 2019.

“I was there. I heard [the office director] say, ‘I can’t believe I’m doing this for you’ and making a joke about the fact that she was completing the training for him,” Bennett told CBS. “And then I heard her at the end ask him to sign the certificate.”

In the wake of the allegations against him, Cuomo was asked by a reporter on Wednesday whether he had taken the sexual harassment training.

“Short answer is yes,” Cuomo responded.

—Norah O’Donnell ???????? (@NorahODonnell) March 5, 2021


Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to a request from Insider.

“I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable, and I truly and deeply apologize for it,” Cuomo also said on Wednesday. “And frankly, I am embarrassed by it. And that’s not easy to say, but that’s the truth.”

Bennett is one of three women who have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. The New York Times reported on Friday that the New York attorney general has asked members of Cuomo’s administration to save any records that could be relevant to the sexual harassment inquiry.

The governor has also come under fire in recent weeks for his administration’s pandemic response. The Times and The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Cuomo’s top advisers had successfully pushed health officials to alter a report that would obscure the high COVID-19 death toll in nursing homes.

Also on Friday, New York state lawmakers stripped Cuomo of the emergency powers he was granted in the early days of the pandemic, when some were praising his coronavirus response.