Aug 3, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Cuomo accuser speaks out, calls denials "dangerous," "victim blaming"

Andrew Cuomo

Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

A former aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who accused him of sexual harassment, spoke out against his earlier denial of inappropriate behavior, telling CBS News that the governor's comments were "dangerous" and "victim blaming."

Driving the news: At a press conference earlier Tuesday, Cuomo specifically addressed the allegations made by his ex-aide, Charlotte Bennett, admitting he "did ask her questions I don't normally ask people," but he flatly denied other details of her allegations.

What they're saying: Asked if Cuomo's denial amounted to gaslighting, Bennett answered "absolutely."

  • "He is trying to justify himself by making me out to be someone who can't tell the difference between sexual harassment and mentorship ... I am not confused. It is not confusing," she said.
  • Bennett added that Cuomo broke federal and state laws by sexually harassing her and other staffers, and said if the governor refuses to resign, lawmakers should move to impeach him.
  • Bennett added that while Cuomo could publicly deny the allegations against him, "privately, he knows that he sexually harassed staffers."
  • The governor's denial "is normalizing not only victim blaming but sexual harassment. He is saying that women come forward with their stories, and we don't need to take it seriously," Bennett noted.

The big picture: The results of an independent investigation found Tuesday that Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women by engaging in unwanted and inappropriate groping, kissing, hugging and comments.

  • The Albany County district attorney announced Tuesday it opened a criminal investigation into the allegations against the governor.
  • Cuomo refused to resign Tuesday, saying "the facts are much different than what has been portrayed" and reiterating that "never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances."
  • President Biden and other top Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, have called for Cuomo's resignation.
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