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Charlotte Bennett has discussed her accusations of sexual harassment against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as the state’s attorney general moves forward with an investigation into allegations from three women.
“I thought, ‘he’s trying to sleep with me – the governor is trying to sleep with me, and I am deeply uncomfortable, and I have to get out of this room as soon as possible,’” the former aide to the governor said in an interview with CBS News airing on Thursday.
“Without explicitly saying it, he implied to me that I was old enough for him and he was lonely,” she said.
Ms Bennett told The New York Times that the governor sexually harassed her in late spring of 2020 as the state responded the coronavirus pandemic. She said that that the governor, 63, asked her questions about her sex life, including whether she was in a monogamous relationship, and if she had sex with older men.
In a statement, the governor acknowledged a history of potentially unwanted attention and abuse in his remarks.
“I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended,” he said. “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.”
He added: “To be clear I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to.”
In a news conference on 3 March, he said: “First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward. Ad I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional. And I truly and deeply apologise for it. I feel awful about it.”
The governor’s office has referred an independent investigation into the allegations to Attorney General Letitia James.
“This is not a responsibility we take lightly as allegations of sexual harassment should always be taken seriously,” she said in a statement on 1 MArch. “At the close of the review, the findings will be disclosed in a public report.”