Former New York governor Andrew Cuomo was publicly accused of sexual misconduct by a second woman on Wednesday, and her former aide filed a lawsuit against him on the same day, claiming that he had sexually harassed her and then slandered her.
The federal complaint filed by Charlotte Bennett in New York City repeats many of the charges she has made in the past year and a half as she has shared her tale with the world.
The governor, she claimed, made inappropriate approaches toward her, such as telling her he was “lonely” and looking for a relationship and asking whether she would be willing to have sex with an older guy.
It is at least the second lawsuit filed by one of the many women who accused Cuomo of sexual harassment before the scandal forced him to quit last summer. Three of Cuomo’s staff members have been sued by Bennett as well.
The action seeks specific damages, alleging that Bennett’s work as a health policy adviser in the governor’s administration was ruined by a torrent of inappropriate comments made by the governor.
To back up his client’s claim that he didn’t harass anyone, Cuomo’s lawyer Rita Glavin released a statement saying, “Every day, new material emerges indicating how evidence favorable to the governor was hidden and important facts overlooked or deleted that compromised witness credibility.”
She continued, “We’ll see them in court.”
Cuomo resigned after the attorney general of New York announced the findings of an investigation finding that Cuomo had sexually assaulted at least 11 women, including Bennett.
Unwanted kisses, touches, and comments about their appearance or sexual lives were reported by these women. As reported by the New York Post, one of Cuomo’s staffers has accused him of groping her breasts. The Albany district attorney ultimately decided to drop the charges due to insufficient evidence. Cuomo refuted the charge.
Bennett was instrumental in bringing down Cuomo. Only one other woman, Lindsey Boylan, had come out at the time with similar allegations against the governor.
Bennett’s participation encouraged other women to share their perspectives.
“I was really terrified to come forward,” Bennett told the Associated Press afterward. I felt comforted by the knowledge that other women had gone through similar experiences before me: “It wasn’t Charlotte vs the governor; it was a movement, progressing. And I am just one instance of this confrontation with sexual misbehavior in the workplace and elsewhere.
Cuomo appeared to accept that he had upset Bennett with comments unsuitable for a working setting, but he disputed that he was making sexual advances when she first revealed her tale to the New York Times. He insisted that Bennett had misunderstood what he had said.
Bennett, who had just turned 25 at the time she worked for Cuomo, claimed that she had little doubt that the whispered statements he made to her were meant to explore her desire for sexual intimacy.
Cuomo had filed an ethics complaint against New York Attorney General Letitia James the day before Bennett’s lawsuit, alleging that James was biased in her investigation of allegations of sexual harassment against the governor.
A New York state police trooper filed a lawsuit against Cuomo in February, claiming he made sexual comments to her and touched her inappropriately on the stomach and back.