More Andrew Cuomo Allegations Bring New Questions
Over at Reason, Elizabeth Nolan Brown runs through the latest Andrew Cuomo allegations, filters them through the Governor’s own statements and actions, and finds him wanting:
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been accused by two women of sexual harassment. Both women were former staff of the Democratic governor.
Former Cuomo executive assistant Charlotte Bennett said that Cuomo harassed her last spring. The 25-year-old claims Cuomo made myriad inappropriate comments, including talking to her about his loneliness and his openness to dating younger women and asking her prying questions about her personal romantic attachments.
“I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” Bennett told The New York Times in a detailed interview. “And was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job.” Not long thereafter, Bennett was transferred to another department.
Former Cuomo staffer Lindsey Boylan also claims that Cuomo harassed her when she was his employee. In a Medium post, Boylan alleges that Cuomo made inappropriate comments about her appearance, invited her to play strip poker while “on his taxpayer-funded jet,” and kissed her on the lips without her consent—a move that under Cuomo’s rules would be defined as sexual assault. (Boylan first publicly raised sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo back in December but did not go into specifics then.)
Cuomo’s press secretary called Boylan’s allegations “false” and Cuomo himself said in a Saturday statement that he “never made advances toward Ms. Bennett, nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate.” He is now calling for an independent review of the allegations.
In a statement last night, Cuomo added: “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.” He also asked people not to rush to judgments before the investigation is concluded—a courtesy he has seldom shown when it comes to sexual harassment claims against folks other than him.
For instance, Cuomo immediately called for former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to resign when allegations surfaced against him.
“My personal opinion is that, given the damning pattern of facts and corroboration laid out in the article, I do not believe it is possible for Eric Schneiderman to continue to serve as Attorney General, and for the good of the office, he should resign,” said Cuomo before an official investigation was even underway.
Cuomo also introduced and aggressively advocated for New York’s 2015 “Enough Is Enough Act,” bragging that it was “the most aggressive policy in the nation” to fight sexual assault and misconduct on college campuses. The bill spread nonsense statistics about sexual assault on college campuses and set “affirmative consent” as the standard for college sexual encounters, which many lawyers view as problematic and a threat to due process.
Cuomo has also lobbied for increased criminal penalties for nonconsensual touching of all sorts and for consensual touching that involves money.