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2nd Former Aide Accuses Gov. Andrew Cuomo Of Sexual Harassment, Governor Requests Independent Review

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo has requested an independent review after another former aide has come forward with sexual harassment accusations.

According to The New York Times, a second woman has come forward claiming the governor sexually harassed her when she was an executive assistant.

The article states 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett is alleging Cuomo asked her late last spring "numerous questions about her personal life, including whether she thought age made a difference in romantic relationships, and had said that he was open to relationships with women in their 20s -- comments she interpreted as clear overtures to a sexual relationship."

Bennett told The Times that she spoke to Cuomo's chief of staff and Judith Mogul, special counsel to the governor, about the interaction. She was then transferred to a health policy adviser position and says she did not insist on an investigation.

Cuomo's office says during the review of the special counsel investigation, Bennett was debriefed on the facts, which did not include a claim of physical contact or inappropriate sexual contact.

The governor says he is requesting an outside review and released the following statement --

"Ms. Bennett was a hardworking and valued member of our team during COVID. She has every right to speak out.

"When she came to me and opened up about being a sexual assault survivor and how it shaped her and her ongoing efforts to create an organization that empowered her voice to help other survivors, I tried to be supportive and helpful. Ms. Bennett's initial impression was right: I was trying to be a mentor to her. I never made advances toward Ms. Bennett nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate. The last thing I would ever have wanted was to make her feel any of the things that are being reported.

"This situation cannot and should not be resolved in the press; I believe the best way to get to the truth is through a full and thorough outside review and I am directing all state employees to comply with that effort. I ask all New Yorkers to await the findings of the review so that they know the facts before making any judgements. I will have no further comment until the review has concluded."

This follows accusations from former top aide Lindsey Boylan, who claims the governor created a culture "within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive it is not only condoned but expected."

As CBS2's Cory James reports, she also alleges that Cuomo kissed her and asked her to play strip poker in 2017, allegations the governor denied.

Boylan first made allegations of sexual harassment in December. At that time, personal records surfaced indicating Boylan resigned her state post after she was confronted about harassing several female employees who worked for her.

Meanwhile, Beth Garvey, special counsel and senior adviser to the governor, says former Federal Judge Barbara Jones will lead the review, saying, "There are no limits on the scope of Judge Jones' review."

However, some are saying someone independent needs to name the person who will lead the review.

Senate Republican Leader Rob Orr added, "The review suggested by someone handpicked by the Governor himself, is an outrageous, completely unacceptable idea. We need a truly independent investigation, which is why I continue to support the calls of my colleagues for a Special Prosecutor appointed by the Attorney General."

CBS2 tried reaching out to Bennett, but so far, we have not heard back.

UPDATE: Gov. Cuomo Asks AG Letitia James, Top Judge To Launch Probe Into Sexual Harassment Allegations

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