Sunday, 09 May, 2021


Second former aide accuses NY governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment

Charlotte Bennett Gov. Cuomo’s second accuser grew up in Westchester Charlotte Bennett Gov. Cuomo’s second accuser grew up in Westchester
Melba Vasquez | 03 March, 2021, 08:48

Whether or not Cuomo thought his sexual comments to female employees would lead to actual sex, the women who have worked for him say that his comments made them feel unsafe, both personally and professionally.

She told The New York Times late Monday that she had met the governor for the first time at a September 2019 wedding reception.

Steck said the governor had the right to defend himself against sexual harassment allegations, but citing a series of recent stories documenting instances of Cuomo threatening and bullying lawmakers, reporters and staff, the assemblyman said Cuomo could no longer effectively lead the state government. She also volunteered on the campaign of County Legislator Kitley Covill in 2017.

'It took the governor 24 hours and significant backlash to allow for a truly independent investigation. The governor's office authorized the probe, clearing the way for the hiring of an independent law firm to conduct the inquiry.

In response to Cuomo's statement, Bennett released one of her own to the New York Times on Monday.

Cuomo said in a statement Saturday he had meant to be a mentor for Bennett, who is 25.

Cuomo's support has plummeted amid dual crises, even among fellow Democrats.

A 2015 tweet from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is coming back to haunt her as Democratic New York Gov.

"To clarify, I do not accept the governor's proposal", James wrote in a statement Sunday.

Cuomo's office did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

The allegations against Cuomo emerged nearly exactly a year after the high-profile sexual assault trial in NY of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein ended in a conviction, and more than three years after the #MeToo movement took hold.

And then Charlotte Bennett herself came out today, Monday afternoon, and rejected that wholeheartedly, said, basically, the governor was engaging in predatory behavior, calling on other women who've experienced this to step forward, and basically saying that his behavior fits a ideal stereotype of someone who sexually harasses women.

While stopping short of calling on Cuomo to step aside, Assemblyman Ed Ra (R -Franklin Square) says it remains to be seen whether Cuomo survives this episode politically.

Cuomo was already facing criticism for his administration's undercounting of pandemic-related nursing home fatalities last week when a former aide, Lindsey Boylan, elaborated on harassment allegations she first made in December. "The Governor must resign", Rice posted to Twitter.

Boylan, 36, alleged that the governor had given her an unsolicited kiss on the lips, suggested that they play strip poker and went "out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs". "All I was ever trying to do was report the story, report the facts".

'As we know, abusers - particularly those with tremendous amounts of power - are often repeat offenders who engage in manipulative tactics to diminish allegations, blame victims, deny wrongdoing and escape consequences, ' Bennett told the newspaper.

However, he said he had teased people and made jokes about their personal lives in an attempt to be "playful". He said he had wanted to act like a mentor to Bennett.

"The last thing I would ever have wanted was to make her feel any of the things that are being reported", Mr Cuomo said.

"I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed", said Ruch.

His statement drew immediate backlash from critics who said he was throwing responsibility onto the women for perceiving his statements wrongly. Jerry Nadler, who wrote in a tweet on Saturday: "As has become standard practice in the State of NY when allegations relate directly to the Executive, Governor Cuomo should refer the matter to the Attorney General, who should, in turn, appoint an independent investigator".

The authorization letter from Cuomo's office was sent by Beth Garvey, special counsel and senior advisor to the governor.

Ross Garber, a lawyer who has represented former governors Mark Sanford of SC and John Rowland of CT, said Cuomo is "essentially handing his reputation to an outsider and saying, 'Have at it".

Bennett's lawyer, Debra Katz, said her client will cooperate fully with the attorney general's investigation.

"The notion that his behaviour was simply unwanted "flirtation" that may have caused "offence" entirely ignores a workplace hierarchy in which he - the governor of the state - was positioned at the very top", Tuerkheimer said.

James issued two statements Sunday, emphasizing the conditions under which her office could conduct an independent probe. This is textbook sexual harassment, ' Katz added.

Initially, Cuomo appeared wanting to retain a level of control over the investigation. "The state's Executive Law clearly gives my office the authority to investigate this matter once the governor provides a referral", James said.

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