Sep 14, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Cuomo accuser files lawsuit over sexual harassment allegations

Governor Andrew Cuomo holds a press briefing. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

A former aide to then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo filed a federal lawsuit against him and several of his top aides Wednesday after accusing him of sexual harassment last year.

Driving the news: Charlotte Bennett, who spoke out publicly about the allegations last year, is accusing the former governor of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation.

Of note: Three of Cuomos' former top aides, Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, Chief of Staff Jill DesRosiers and Special Counsel Judith Mogul, are also named as defendants in the suit.

  • They are accused of mishandling Bennett's initial sexual harassment complaint and failing to report her allegations, according to the lawsuit.

Details: Bennett claims in the complaint that in 2019 and 2020, Cuomo subjected her to "sexualized comments about her appearance, assigned her humiliating and demeaning tasks,"

  • She also alleges that he "subjected her to invasive and unwanted questions about her personal life, romantic and sexual relationships, and history as a survivor of sexual assault."
  • Bennett said that when she spoke up, she was demoted and that she experienced "near-debilitating" anxiety, symptoms of depression and began suffering from a chronic neurological disorder as a result.

Background: At a press conference in August 2021, Cuomo specifically addressed Bennett's allegations, admitting he "did ask her questions I don't normally ask people," but he flatly denied other details of her allegations.

What she's saying: "My career as a public servant was abruptly cut short because of Governor Cuomo's and his top aides' sexual harassment and retaliation against me after I complained about Governor Cuomo's misconduct," Bennett said in a statement.

  • "They must all be held accountable for their actions," she added.

Meanwhile, Cuomo this week filed an ethics complaint against New York Attorney General Letitia James over the investigation that found he sexually harassed multiple women.

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