NEW YORK, NY (WIVB) — The second of three women to come forward with sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is telling more of her story to CBS News.
In an exclusive interview with Nora O’Donnell on CBS, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett says the Governor seemed fixated last May with the fact that she was a survivor of sexual assault.
“So he goes, ‘You were raped. You were raped. You were raped and abused and assaulted. He asked if I had trouble enjoying being with someone because of my trauma. The Governor asked if I was sensitive to intimacy….during the work day,” said Bennett.
Three weeks later, on June 5, she says Cuomo indicated he wanted a girlfriend and asked if she had ever been with an older man. “I thought, ‘He’s trying to sleep with me. The Governor’s trying to sleep with me, and I am deeply uncomfortable and I have to get out of this room as a soon as possible.”
Bennett shared with CBS text messages sent to friends last spring about the encounter. That week, she reported it to superiors and a week later was transferred to another job on the opposite side of the Capitol.
She is believed to be accuser who Governor Cuomo singled out on Wednesday as the one he wanted to directly apologize to. “I didn’t know at the time I was making her feel uncomfortable.” said Cuomo. “I never meant to but that doesn’t matter. If a person feels uncomfortable, if a person feels pain, if a person is offended, I feel very badly and I apologize.”
But Bennett didn’t consider that an apology. “It’s not an apology. It’s not an issue of my feelings, it’s an issue of his actions.”
When asked what she would say to viewers who may doubt her story, Bennett said it’s hard enough telling the story when it’s true. “I can’t imagine what it might be like to sit here and tell you lies,” said Bennett.
Cuomo said on Wednesday, “I do not believe I have ever done anything in my public career that I am ashamed of. I didn’t know I was making her uncomfortable at the time. I feel badly that I did.”
George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.