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Cuomo calls for independent review after second former aide accused him of sexual harassment

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday called for an independent review of allegations by a former aide that he sexually harassed her at work. He denied the charges and said all of his staff would cooperate with the review, which would be conducted by a retired federal judge chosen by his office.

The assistant, Charlotte Bennett, is the second to come forward since December to make such allegations. The New York Times reported her allegations on Saturday, writing that Bennett, 25, said he made overtures to have sex with her.

The Times reported that Bennett – a former executive assistant and health policy adviser in the Cuomo administration – said Cuomo asked her about her sex life and whether she had slept with older men.

Cuomo, 63, released a statement Saturday night in which he denied treating her that way.

“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 empowers her voice to helping other survivors, I tried to be supportive and helpful, ”he said.

He added: “Ms Bennett’s initial impression was right: I was trying to be a mentor to her. I never made advances towards Ms Bennett and I never intended to act. in an inappropriate manner. “

Cuomo called for “a full and thorough exterior review.”

“This situation cannot and should not be resolved by the press,” he said.

Beth Garvey, special counsel and senior advisor to Cuomo, said in the same statement that former federal judge Barbara Jones will conduct an independent review and all governor’s staff have been ordered to cooperate.

Calls for such an investigation have multiplied in Albany among Cuomo’s Democratic colleagues.

Garvey said Bennett, who left the office in November, requested a job transfer and did not mention the allegations in an exit interview.

Bennett suggested to The Times that she was transferred days after she disclosed the alleged harassment to Cuomo’s chief of staff Jill DesRosiers.

Bennett and DesRosiers did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday.

Bennett’s allegations follow those of Lindsey Boylan, assistant secretary for economic development and special adviser to the governor from 2015 to 2018, who tweeted in December that Cuomo “sexually harassed me for years.”

Boylan followed up on the tweet with a more detailed account, including an unwanted kiss from Cuomo.

Cuomo spokesperson Caitlin Girouard said in a statement to NBC New York at the time: “There is simply no truth in these claims.”

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