ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — Former aide for ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo, Charlotte Bennett, is suing Cuomo and his top aides for sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and retaliation in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. Bennett was the second woman to publicly accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment in 2021.
“And she bravely reported this illegal behavior that she was subjected to. She withstood retaliation, and today, she is coming forward to seek justice so that she can finally close this chapter,” said Rachel Green, Associate at Katz Banks Kumin.
In her filing, Bennett’s report reads that throughout her employment as Cuomo’s Executive Assistant, the Governor subjected her to sexual comments about her appearance, assigned her with humiliating and demeaning tasks and asked her invasive questions about her sexual relationships and history as a survivor of sexual assault.
In a statement, Bennett said: “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. They must all be held accountable for their actions.”
The lawsuit claims that Bennett reported the harassment to the correct authorities, including Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, Chief of Staff Jill DesRosiers, and Special Counsel Judith Mogul. “Those individuals were required to take certain actions, required by law to take certain actions in response to her report. They failed to take those actions. And their retaliatory actions in assigning her to a job that had essentially no duties and not enough work for her to perform… all of those are aiding and abetting Governor Cuomo’s harassment of Charlotte Bennett,” said Green.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the ex-Governor says: “The Governor has always said he didn’t harass anyone and with each day that goes by more and more information is uncovered showing how evidence favorable to the Governor was suppressed and crucial facts ignored or omitted that undermined witness credibility. What else will come out during the discovery process? We’ll see them in court.”
Bennett’s lawsuit came just one day day after Cuomo filed an ethics complaint against New York Attorney General Letitia James for publishing a report detailing his alleged sexual harassment against multiple women during his time in office.