Charlotte Bennett, a health-policy adviser in the Democratic governor’s administration until November, told The New York Times that Cuomo asked her inappropriate questions about her sex life, including whether she had ever had sex with older men.
Another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, a former deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to the governor, recently accused Cuomo of subjecting her to an unwanted kiss and inappropriate comments. Cuomo denied the allegations.
Cuomo said in a statement Saturday that Bennett was a “hardworking and valued member of our team during COVID” and that “she has every right to speak out.”
He said he had intended to be a mentor for Bennett, who is 25.
“I never made advances toward Ms. Bennett nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate,” Cuomo’s statement said. “The last thing I would ever have wanted was to make her feel any of the things that are being reported.”
Cuomo, however, said he had authorized an outside review of Bennett’s allegations.
The governor’s special counsel, Beth Garvey, said that review would be conducted by a former federal judge, Barbara Jones.
“I ask all New Yorkers to await the findings of the review so that they know the facts before making any judgements,” Cuomo said. “I will have no further comment until the review has concluded.”
Though critics may see a conflict of interest in Cuomo appointment Jones.
When she retired from the bench she joined a top New York law firm where she worked with the governor’s former secretary, Steve Cohen.
Following the revelations, several prominent state politicians called for an independent investigation.
“Everyone deserves to have their voice heard and taken seriously. I support an independent review,” New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement.
“As I previously stated, all allegations of harassment must be taken seriously. A truly independent investigation is warranted,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said.
“The continued allegations are deeply disturbing and concerning. The behavior described has no place in the workplace. A truly independent investigation must begin immediately,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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