Great Britain

Ex-aide who accused Cuomo of harassment says he is refusing to face up to ‘predatory behaviour’

Charlotte Bennett has accused Mr Cuomo of making her feel uncomfortable by asking her questions about her sex life when she worked for him.

And now the allegations against the Democratic politician are under investigation from the New York attorney general Letitia James , who has said she will publish a report on her findings.

Ms Bennett said in a statement on Monday that Mr Cuomo did not want to “take responsibility for his actions.”

“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,” said Ms Bennett.

“It took the governor 24 hours and significant backlash to allow for a truly independent investigation.

“These are not the actions of someone who simply feels misunderstood; they are the actions of an individual who wields his power to avoid justice.”

Ms Bennett told the New York Times over the weekend that Mr Cuomo had asked her questions about her sex life during a conversation in his State Capitol office.

And she claimed that he told her that he was open to relationships with women in their 20s.

Mr Cuomo denied the claims saying that he had “never made advances toward Ms Bennett, nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate.”

Another former aide of the governor, Lindsey Boylan, made her own allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo in a post on Medium.

Ms Boylan alleged that Mr Cuomo had invited her to play “strip poker” during a 2017 flight on his state jet, while another aide was sat next to her.

She also claims that in 2018 Mr Cuomo kissed her on the lips after a briefing on economic and infrastructure projects in his New York City office.

Mr Cuomo, who has previously denied Ms Boylan’s claims, acknowledged Ms Bennett’s claims in his own statement on Sunday.

“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.”

Mr Cuomo has become a national figure with his work battling the coronavirus pandemic in his state, and there has been speculation that he could run for president in the future.

Ms Bennett’s lawyer says that her client will “cooperate fully with the attorney general’s investigation.”

“He was not acting as a mentor, and his remarks were not misunderstood by Ms Bennett,” said Debra Katz.

“He was abusing his power over her for sex. This is textbook sexual harassment.”

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