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Bennett came forward in an interview published with The New York Times over the weekend, alleging that Cuomo, 63, harassed her last year while she was serving as an executive assistant and health policy adviser in the governor's administration last year.
(Cuomo says he “never inappropriately touched anybody” but apologized this week for what he insisted was inadvertent behavior. An independent investigation is ongoing.)
In her first television interview, which aired Thursday and Friday on CBS, Bennett, 25, sat down with anchor Norah O'Donnell and discussed what led her to first think "the governor's trying to sleep with me" during a one-on-one meeting with Cuomo back in June.
"Without explicitly saying it, he implied to me that I was old enough for him and he was lonely," she said.
Bennett, who had been sexually harassed in the past, went on to say that during the June 5 encounter in the governor's office, Cuomo allegedly asked her about her romantic life and if her past trauma had impacted her relationships.
"He asked if I had trouble enjoying being with someone because of my trauma," she said, adding that he also asked if she was "sensitive to intimacy," and if it was "hard" to "really be with someone physically."
Later, Bennett alleged that the governor asked her if she had ever been intimate with an older man while also saying he was comfortable dating younger women.
"He also explained that he was fine with anyone over 22," she said.
Bennett then said that she felt pressure to answer Cuomo's question despite feeling "uncomfortable" due to the fact that he was her boss and his powerful role as governor.
"I really was uncomfortable and understood that my boss was asking these questions, so I was trying to answer them," she explained. "I feel like people put the onus on the woman to shut that conversation down. And by answering, I was somehow engaging in that or enabling it, when in fact, I was just terrified."
CBS Evening News With Norah O'Donnell
In addition to recalling the June 5 meeting with Cuomo, CBS News reviewed text messages that Bennett said she sent to a close friend following the alleged encounter. In the messages, the governor's executive assistant told her friend that Cuomo "talked about age differences in relationships."
Her friend, who verified the messages to the network, then asked if he "did something," to which Bennett replied, "No, but it was like the most explicit it could be."
In a statement on Saturday after Bennett first spoke out, Cuomo said she was "a hardworking and valued member of our team during COVID. She has every right to speak out."
But he denied allegations of misconduct.
"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," Cuomo said then. "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," the governor added on Saturday. "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."
Bennett is one of three women who have accused Cuomo of harassment in recent months.
Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Lindsay Boylan, who was an economic development adviser and stopped working for Cuomo in 2018, spoke out in December and subsequently detailed her allegations, which included an unwanted kiss, in a lengthy blog post last week.
In an interview with The New York Times published Monday, Anna Ruch alleged that after first meeting the politician at a wedding reception in 2019, Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her.
On Wednesday, Cuomo denied having "inappropriately touched anybody" but apologized for what he said was unintended discomfort.
“I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” he said.
He added: "It was unintentional, and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it and, frankly, I am embarrassed by it and that's not easy to say. But that's the truth."
Cuomo said Wednesday he was not going to resign, despite the outcry and calls for him to do so from some state lawmakers. He reiterated that his administration will fully cooperate with the independent investigation of his behavior, which is being overseen by the state's attorney general.
"I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people. I've learned an important lesson," he continued. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone."
At the end of her interview, Bennett told O'Donnell that said she did not believe Cuomo's recent statement was an apology. "It's not an issue of my feelings ... It's an issue of his actions," she said of the governor's words on Wednesday.
"The fact is that he was sexually harassing me and he has not apologized for sexually harassing me. And he can't even use my name," Bennett added.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.