New York lawmakers react to Cuomo harassment investigation

New York

(WSYR-TV) — A second former employee to Gov. Andrew Cuomo has come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace.

In a New York Times report, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennet details an interaction in Cuomo’s State Capitol office, where she believes the governor was making sexual advances.

Cuomo released a statement Sunday night apologizing for anyone misinterpreting his “playful” behavior, saying he teases people about their personal lives, meaning no offense.

In that apology, he says, “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.”

After a back and forth between the governor and Attorney General Leticia James over how much oversight the governor should have, Cuomo granted the Attorney General subpoena power. The allegations will be investigated by an attorney with a private practice with no political affiliation to the Cuomo administration, according to his senior advisor.

This investigation comes at the same time as an FBI investigation into the Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic. Lawmakers saying all the more reason there needs to be an independent investigation.

“I fully support that call, and fully trust the Attorney General’s ability to oversee a thorough and swift investigation. Sexual harassment has no place anywhere in our society. The continued allegations are deeply disturbing and concerning,” said Democratic Senator Rachel May.

“The question is what’s independent obviously the AG is a close political ally of the governor as is the chief judge, [who] was appointed by the governor. But I suppose if they appointed a special prosecutor of someone to investigate it and look into this I suppose I would be okay with that,” said Republican Assembly Leader Will Barclay, echoing those concerns.

A statement released from a spokesperson for Democratic Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer said, “Sen. Schumer has said many times that sexual harassment is never acceptable and must not be tolerated and that any credible allegation should be thoroughly investigated.”

Cuomo still stands by his claim that he never inappropriately touched anybody. He says he never propositioned anybody and he never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable.

The lead investigator into the allegations has yet to be assigned but James says she will be handpicking them with oversight on her end.

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