Former Staffer Charlotte Bennett Calls Cuomo A “Textbook Abuser”


Charlotte Bennett, the 25-year-old former staffer to Governor Andrew Cuomo, spoke publicly for the primary time Thursday evening since she got here ahead with allegations that the governor made express sexual advances in direction of her, taking pictures down his apology earlier within the week.

“He’s a textbook abuser,” she mentioned in an interview with CBS Night Information with Laura O’Donnell. “He lets his mood and his anger rule the workplace, however he was very candy to me for a yr within the hope that possibly someday, when he got here onto me, I’d suppose we have been buddies or that it was acceptable or that it was okay.”

Bennett’s feedback echo how former staffers described his workplace as a office dominated by concern, the place they felt they needed to stroll on eggshells to not upset Cuomo or his senior aides. A younger girl who had labored there in 2013 described being kissed on the cheek recurrently by Cuomo, and was informed to put on heels by one other staffer each time he was in Albany. She informed Gothamist/WNYC that she most popular this on the time to the verbal tirades reserved for workers who upset the governor.

Cuomo, who usually briefs the general public and reporters thrice per week with COVID updates, had disappeared over the previous week, throughout which period Bennett and two different ladies got here ahead describing undesirable sexual advances — Lindsey Boylan, one other former aide and Anna Ruch, a girl Cuomo met as soon as at a marriage of his prime staffer Gareth Rhodes.

When Cuomo reappeared Wednesday afternoon, he apologized for making “anybody really feel uncomfortable,” although he reiterated that he “by no means touched anybody inappropriately.” (There’s a photograph of Cuomo grabbing Ruch’s face on the marriage ceremony which she felt was inappropriate.) Cuomo went on to say that he felt “embarrassed and damage,” and mentioned that he had by no means carried out something he was ashamed of throughout his time as an elected official.

In her interview with CBS, Bennett dismissed Cuomo’s apology. “He was sexually harassing me and he has not apologized for sexually harassing me,” she mentioned. “And he can’t even use my title.”

Bennett went into additional element in regards to the unnerving conversations she had with Cuomo on Could fifteenth and June fifth of final yr, after they have been alone collectively in his workplace.

Within the Could encounter, Cuomo addressed how Bennett had been sexually assaulted beforehand, “you have been raped, you have been raped and abused and assaulted,” Cuomo repeated. Bennet mentioned it felt like he was grooming her. “Possibly I’m extra keen to just accept conduct as a result of I’ve a historical past of sexual violence,” she recounted. Then on July fifth she described getting known as into his workplace to take dictations, however then was informed to show the recorder off, at which level Cuomo began asking sexually express questions.

“He’s searching for a girlfriend, he’s lonely, he’s drained,” Bennett recalled. “He requested if I had hassle being with somebody due to my trauma. The governor requested me if I used to be delicate to intimacy.”

Bennett mentioned she was terrified.

She recalled feeling “deeply uncomfortable,” and mentioned she knew she needed to “get out of this room as quickly as doable.” She left the workplace shaken after that interplay and reluctantly returned the following day the place she was as soon as once more alone in Cuomo’s workplace. He requested if she’d discovered her a girlfriend but.

“I used to be shaking,” she mentioned. “I believed, any second one thing can occur and I’ve no energy right here.”

Based on her legal professional, Bennett informed Cuomo’s Chief of Employees Jill DesRosiers and his particular counsel Judith Mogul in June in regards to the feedback. She was quickly transferred to a different state company. An legal professional for Cuomo’s workplace confirmed they’d interviewed Bennett in regards to the encounter and didn’t conduct an extra investigation, which was what they mentioned Bennett had agreed to.

Senate Majority Chief Andrea Stewart-Cousins,who’d beforehand known as the allegations disturbing and mentioned there wanted to be an investigation, went a step additional Thursday telling Capital Tonight that if “any additional folks [come] ahead, I’d suppose it will be time for him to resign.”

The partitions have been closing in on the governor from all sides. Shortly after Bennett’s interview aired Thursday evening, information broke from the Wall Road Journal and the New York Occasions that Cuomo’s prime aides had deliberately meddled with a Well being Division report final spring, eradicating the variety of New Yorkers who have been nursing house residents however who had died in hospitals, somewhat than contained in the services themselves, artificially deflating the dying rely from nursing properties.

Governor Cuomo secured a e book deal to jot down about his management throughout the pandemic, a month and a half after the doctored report got here out.