“This allowed the governor to sexually harass Ms. Bennett, a subordinate employee who is almost 40 years his junior, with impunity,” Ms. Katz said. “We are confident that a thorough investigation of the workplace environment in Governor Cuomo’s office will conclude that the governor and his senior staff fostered a culture of abuse, harassment and secrecy.”
Ms. Garvey, the governor’s special counsel, responded by saying that “Ms. Bennett’s concerns were treated with sensitivity and respect and in accordance with applicable law and policy.”
The paperwork that Ms. James has requested the administration to protect can be particularly important as investigators scrutinize how members of the governor’s staff dealt with sexual harassment complaints made by its employees. Questions have already been raised about whether or not Mr. Cuomo’s aides adopted correct protocol in reporting the allegations made by Ms. Bennett, who was an executive assistant on the time.
When Ms. Bennett informed Jill DesRosiers, the governor’s chief of staff, that Mr. Cuomo had sexually harassed her in June, shortly after the alleged incident, the disclosure ought to have been reported to a state labor office. That will have prompted an investigation into her criticism.
It stays unclear whether or not the governor’s aides correctly reported her criticism to the labor office, referred to as the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations, as required under an executive order that Mr. Cuomo issued in 2018 amid the #MeToo motion.
Ms. Bennett said she gave a prolonged statement relating to her interactions with the governor to a special counsel to Mr. Cuomo, Judith Mogul. Ms. Bennett said she made it clear to Ms. Mogul that she believed the governor had propositioned her and was grooming her for sex, telling Mr. Cuomo’s aides that she feared retaliation for reporting his habits.
Shortly after her preliminary criticism to Ms. DesRosiers, Ms. Bennett was transferred to a different job in a special part of the State Capitol. The governor’s office didn’t say on Friday whether or not Ms. Bennett’s criticism was reported or investigated.
“As the documents will reflect, I acted consistent with the information provided, the requirements of the law, and Charlotte’s wishes,” Ms. Mogul said in a statement on Friday.