Speed Reads

Sexual Harassment

2nd former aide accuses Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, says his 'presence was suffocating'

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has been accused of sexual harassment by a second former aide, The New York Times reports.

Charlotte Bennett, who worked as a senior briefer and executive assistant in Cuomo's administration in 2019 and 2020, told the Times that Cuomo harassed her in June 2020, asking her questions about her personal life, including whether she thought age gaps mattered in relationships and if she ever had sex with older men. He also allegedly told her how lonely he felt during the coronavirus pandemic and asked her whom she last hugged. The 25-year-old Bennett said the governor never tried to touch her, but she "absolutely" felt he was making an entreaty to a sexual relationship which made her "horribly uncomfortable and scared."

Bennett said she and Cuomo had previously gotten along "really well," and she even considered him a "father figure" of sorts, but she noticed his perception of their relationship begin to change in mid-May when she began working on New York's COVID-19 response effort. After the June encounter, Bennett disclosed her experience to Cuomo's chief of staff and gave a statement to a special counsel to the governor, however she decided not to push for an investigation because she "wanted to move on" after she had been transferred to a new job in the administration as a health policy adviser. Bennett said she ultimately left the state government because she continued to feel angry about the incident and Cuomo's "presence was suffocating." Bennett explained she agreed to recount the incident to the Times out of a sense of obligation.

In response to the allegations, Cuomo said he has requested an independent review into the matter. He did not dispute asking Bennett personal questions, but said he believed he was acting as a mentor. Another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, accused Cuomo of harassing her several times from 2016 to 2018. Read more at The New York Times.