November 4, 2022
(NEW YORK) – Charlotte Bennett, one-time executive assistant and senior briefer to Andrew Cuomo, is suing the former governor for sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. Bennett’s suit, filed on Sept. 14 in the U.S. District Court of Southern New York also names as defendants three of the former governor’s top aides: Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, Chief of Staff Jill DesRosiers, and Special Counsel Judith Mogul.
During Bennett’s employment in Cuomo’s office from May 2019 to June 2020, the suit alleges that Cuomo “subjected [Bennett] to sexualized comments about her appearance, assigned her humiliating and demeaning tasks, and …subjected her to invasive and unwanted questions about her personal life, romantic and sexual relationships, and history as a survivor of sexual assault.”
Bennett, now 27, further states in her suit that the former governor made sexual advances and asked if she “had slept with” older men. Bennett also alleges she was transferred to inferior positions upon making these advances known to staffers who failed to refer her complaints for investigation.
According to an August 2021 report by New York State Attorney General Letitia James, Bennett is one of 11 women to accuse Cuomo of harassment.
The suit states that Bennett had to take medical leave prior to an involuntary resignation due to severe anxiety, depression, and an overall decline in health as a result of the “intolerable” work environment.
Bennett, who requests a jury trial is seeking compensatory damages for economic loss —including salary and employee benefits— and for “pain and suffering and acute emotional distress” she suffered as a result of Cuomo’s “unlawful actions.”
Bennett, one of the first people to publicly accuse Cuomo of harassment, came forward with her allegations in a New York Times article in February 2021. In response to the allegations, Cuomo issued a press release stating that he never inappropriately touched or propositioned anyone, acknowledging that “some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation.”
In September Cuomo sued James for professional misconduct in investigating the report of sexual harassment claims made against him.
Cuomo and his attorney Rita Glavin dispute Bennett’s allegations.
“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,” Glavin said in a statement to CNN in response to the suit.