Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a new statement Sunday responding to sexual harassment accusations from a second former aide, saying his remarks had been “misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation.”
Former aide Charlotte Bennett, 25, advised The New York Times Saturday that the governor had asked questions about her sex life, whether or not she was monogamous and if she had ever had intercourse with older males.
On Saturday, Cuomo advised the Times in an announcement that he thought-about himself a “mentor” to Bennett and that he “never made advances toward Ms. Bennett, nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate.”
But on Sunday, he modified his response.
“I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended,” Cuomo mentioned in his assertion.
“I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that.”
The governor’s assertion mentioned that at work, “sometimes I think I am being playful” and that he means “no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business.”
He added: “I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to.”
Bennett, who was an govt assistant and well being coverage adviser within the Cuomo administration till final November, mentioned the 63-year-old governor at one level final summer season advised her after they have been alone in his workplace that he was open to relationships with women in their 20s.
She mentioned that he additionally complained then of being lonely throughout the pandemic, saying, “I can’t even hug anyone.” Bennett recalled that when she replied that she missed hugging her mother and father, he responded: “No, I mean like really hugged somebody.”
Bennett advised the Times: “I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me … [I] was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job.”
She mentioned she mentioned the encounter with Cuomo’s chief of workers and a particular counsel to the governor and was given a brand new position on the opposite aspect of the state Capitol.
Bennett determined to not press for an investigation and to “move on,” the Times reported.
Her revelation adopted sexual harassment accusations in opposition to Cuomo late final 12 months by Lindsey Boylan, a former state financial improvement official. Boylan alleged that the governor sexually harassed her a number of occasions from 2016 to 2018.
In an article in Medium on Wednesday, Boylan additionally accused the governor of kissing her on the lips in his Manhattan workplace with out her consent. Cuomo has denied any harassment.
Bennett responded to Boylan’s tweet about her Medium article by saying it confirmed “what it’s like to work for the Cuomo” administration.
Cuomo initially mentioned Saturday that he would launch a evaluation of the ladies’s allegations by a former federal decide. But on Sunday, New York Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and different lawmakers echoed New York Attorney General Letitia James’ name to be given full energy to research the allegations.
Cuomo’s workplace later issued an announcement Sunday night saying that it had requested James to “select a qualified private lawyer to do an independent review of allegations of sexual harassment.”
The Governor’s workplace “wants a thorough and independent review that is above reproach and beyond political interference,” the assertion famous.
James responded: “This is not a responsibility we take lightly. We will hire a law firm, deputize them as attorneys of our office, and oversee a rigorous and independent investigation.”
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