House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) referred to allegations against Governor Andrew Cuomo as “credible” on Sunday, less than 24 hours after The New York Times detailed sexual harassment allegations from a second former Cuomo administration staffer.
“The women who have come forward with serious and credible charges against Governor Cuomo deserve to be heard and to be treated with dignity,” the California House Democrat told Fox News in a statement late Sunday afternoon. “The independent investigation must have due process and respect for everyone involved.”
Over the last several days, two of the governor’s former staffers have accused him of sexual harassment. Charlotte Bennet, 25, told The New York Times that Cuomo asked her questions about her sex life at the beginning of the pandemic, including whether she practiced monogamy and whether she had ever had sex with an older man. Cuomo, 63, told the Times that he “never made advances toward Ms. Bennett, nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate,” and called her a “valued member” of his staff. (Bennet no longer works for the Cuomo administration.)
Lindsay Boylan, 36, has accused Cuomo of kissing her while they were alone in his office and of jokingly suggesting that the two play strip poker. A spokesperson for Cuomo has referred to Boylan’s “claims of inappropriate behavior” as “quite simply false.”
Cuomo released a statement late Sunday apologizing for past behavior that may have made people feel uncomfortable but denied propositioning anyone or engaging in inappropriate touching. The governor also called for an outside, “independent review” of the allegations against him.
Questions have been raised about some of my past interactions with people in the office.
I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm. I spend most of my life at work and colleagues are often also personal friends.
At work sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny. I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good natured way. I do it in public and in private. You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times. I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married. I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business.
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. 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.
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.
That’s why I have asked for an outside, independent review that looks at these allegations.
Separately, my office has heard anecdotally that some people have reached out to Ms. Bennett to express displeasure about her coming forward. My message to anyone doing that is you have misjudged what matters to me and my administration and you should stop now – period.
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