Charlotte Bennett, a former aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo who accused him of sexual harassment earlier this 12 months, stated Tuesday that the three-term Democrat was normalizing “not solely victim-blaming, however sexual harassment” in his response to state AG Letitia James’ bombshell report that discovered Cuomo harassed 11 ladies in violation of state and federal legal guidelines.
“He’s saying that ladies come ahead with their tales and we don’t must take it severely,” Bennett instructed “CBS Night Information with Norah O’Donnell.”
“It’s merely a circus act at this level.”
Bennett, who labored as an govt assistant and well being coverage adviser, went public together with her claims about Cuomo in The New York Occasions this previous February. She claimed the governor had requested her inappropriate private questions, stated he was open to relationships with ladies of their 20s, and left her feeling that he “wished to sleep with me.”
The James report particulars how Cuomo grew to become fixated on Bennett’s expertise as a sexual assault survivor. In Could of final 12 months, she texted a colleague following a dialog with Cuomo: “The way in which he was repeating ‘you had been raped and abused and attacked and assaulted and betrayed’ over and over whereas wanting me immediately within the eyes was one thing out of a horror film. It was like he was testing me.”
The next month, the report finds, the governor instructed to Bennett that she had hassle staying in monogamous relationships as a result of she wished “management” following her assault.
Cuomo singled out Bennett in his response to the report earlier Tuesday, saying that her allegations towards him “bothered me most”.
“I believed I might assist her work by way of a tough time,” the governor stated. “I did ask her [Bennett] questions I don’t usually ask individuals. I did ask her how she was doing and the way she was feeling. And I did ask inquiries to attempt to see if she had constructive, supportive courting relationships … I used to be making an attempt to verify she was working her manner by way of it one of the best she might. I believed I had realized sufficient and had sufficient private expertise to assist. However I used to be incorrect.”
“He’s making an attempt to justify himself by making me out to be somebody who can’t inform the distinction between sexual harassment and mentorship,” responded Bennett, who added: “Publicly, he would slightly play dumb. Privately, he is aware of that he sexually harassed staffers and I feel it’s simpler to clarify his conduct publicly by saying there was some misunderstanding.”
Cuomo immediately addressed Bennett in his remarks, saying he was “actually and deeply sorry” for what he stated and did.
“I introduced my private expertise into the office and I shouldn’t have performed that. I used to be making an attempt to assist. Clearly, I didn’t,” he stated. “I’m much more sorry that I additional sophisticated the scenario. My aim was the precise reverse. I want nothing however good for you, and for all survivors of sexual assault.”
Bennett emphatically rejected the governor’s apology Tuesday evening.
“Accepting duty means stepping down, so I don’t consider him, and I don’t need an apology,” she stated. “It’s not mandatory. It’s faux, and his propaganda video was not solely uncomfortable and inappropriate, however downright bizarre, and pointless.”
Bennett added that she felt “vindicated” by James’ report and warned Albany legislators that they “have a duty to behave and impeach” the three-term governor if he doesn’t resign.
“We’ve got a report. We’ve got the info,” she stated. “The governor broke federal and state legislation when he sexually harassed me, and present and former staffers … I’m not confused. It isn’t complicated. I’m residing in actuality and it’s unhappy to see that he’s not.”