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Cuomo accuser encourages others to come forward


Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a information convention. | Spencer Platt/Getty Photos

ALBANY, N.Y. — One of many former aides to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo who has accused him of sexual harassment is encouraging others to come forward in the event that they’ve had comparable experiences.

Charlotte Bennett mentioned in a press release first reported by the New York Occasions that the governor has refused to take duty for predatory habits. And, referring to one other accuser and former Cuomo aide, Lindsey Boylan, she addressed another ladies who could have skilled comparable harassment.

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“To the Governor’s survivors: I’m right here,” she wrote. “Lindsey is right here. You don’t have to say a single phrase. However if you happen to select to communicate your reality, we can be standing with you. I promise.”

Bennett additionally criticized Cuomo’s subsequent wrangling with state Lawyer Common Tish James over how the investigation ought to proceed as an effort to keep away from an unbiased investigation.

“These should not the actions of somebody who merely feels misunderstood; they’re the actions of a person who wields his energy to keep away from justice,” Bennett wrote within the assertion.

Bennett has accused the governor of asking her about her private relationships, asking her whether or not she had intercourse with older males and saying he was open to relationships with ladies of their 20s. Cuomo is 63. Bennett, 25, reported her discomfort to the governor’s chief of employees and was transferred to a well being coverage place out of the governor’s instant orbit. She has since taken a job outdoors New York.

Cuomo on Sunday appeared to reply to Bennet’s allegations by acknowledging that he could have crossed a line at occasions. The governor’s assertion has drawn a big backlash from some high Democratic officers.

“I now perceive that my interactions could have been insensitive or too private and that a few of my feedback, given my place, made others really feel in methods I by no means supposed,” the governor mentioned in a press release. “I acknowledge a number of the issues I’ve mentioned have been misinterpreted as an undesirable flirtation.”

Bennett mentioned coming forward was a troublesome and private choice for her. She went public after Boylan mentioned Cuomo steered they play strip poker aboard a state aircraft and kissed her with out consent in his New York Metropolis workplace.

Debra S. Katz, Bennett’s lawyer, known as for James to decide if the governor has spoken to different ladies in his administration in comparable trend. She additionally mentioned the legal professional common ought to scrutinize how Cuomo’s workplace dealt with Bennett’s allegations on the time they had been made internally.

Cuomo’s particular counsel Beth Garvey has mentioned that the allegation was dealt with “in accordance with relevant regulation and coverage.” She mentioned Bennett was consulted on the decision with a switch.

The total statements from Bennett and her lawyer are beneath:

Assertion of Charlotte Bennett in response to Governor Cuomo’s remarks:

“The Governor has refused to acknowledge or take duty for his predatory habits. As we all know, abusers — notably these with great quantities of energy — are sometimes repeat offenders who interact in manipulative techniques to diminish allegations, blame victims, deny wrongdoing and escape penalties. It took the Governor 24 hours and vital backlash to permit for a really unbiased investigation. These should not the actions of somebody who merely feels misunderstood; they’re the actions of a person who wields his energy to keep away from justice.

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“In a transparent effort to carry out a sensitivity that he merely doesn’t possess, the Governor has implied that he needs his supporters to stand down and respect my choice to communicate out. In coming forward I totally anticipated to be attacked by those that reflexively query the honesty or motivation of those that report sexual harassment. I’m not deterred by these voices. As an alternative, I’ve centered on the overwhelming love and assist I’ve obtained from buddies and strangers alike. Thanks for holding house for me and lifting me up in what has been some of the susceptible moments of my life.

“Coming forward was an excruciating choice. I made a decision to share my story as a result of I had religion that I might be supported and believed. That is typically not the case. Sharing my expertise was solely attainable due to previous survivors who stood up and instructed their tales. I hope that my story helps different survivors really feel like they’ll stand of their reality.

“To survivors studying this: I consider you. I see you. I hear you. Your story is legitimate, your ache is actual and your anger is justified. I’m sending you my love, assist and solidarity. You might be carrying an unbelievable burden — one which takes time and power to untangle. Every journey, together with my very own, is a protracted and winding one. No two are the identical. That mentioned, I consider we will empower one another. For anybody who wants to hear this, know I’m holding house for you, too.

“To the Governor’s survivors: I’m right here. Lindsey is right here. You don’t have to say a single phrase. However if you happen to select to communicate your reality, we can be standing with you. I promise.”

Assertion of Debra S. Katz

“Ms. Bennett will cooperate totally with the Lawyer Common’s investigation. We’re assured that no disinterested investigator who opinions this proof would undertake the Governor’s self-serving characterization of his habits as mentorship or, at worst, undesirable flirtation. He was not performing as a mentor and his remarks weren’t misunderstood by Ms. Bennett. He was abusing his energy over her for intercourse. That is textbook sexual harassment.

“If, because the Governor now acknowledges, he talked to younger ladies who labored for his administration on this method, the issue is a systemic one and the Lawyer Common should examine whether or not different ladies had been subjected to a sexually hostile work atmosphere. It is usually vital for the Lawyer Common to decide if anybody within the Cuomo Administration enabled his habits. We name on the Lawyer Common to examine the failure of Governor Cuomo’s chief of employees and particular counsel to totally examine Ms. Bennett’s allegation. They’d a transparent authorized obligation to accomplish that.”

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