Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has joined the chorus of lawmakers calling for an independent investigation into sexual harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).
“Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett’s detailed accounts of sexual harassment by Gov. Cuomo are extremely serious and painful to read,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter Sunday. “There must be an independent investigation – not one led by an individual selected by the Governor, but by the office of the Attorney General.”
Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett’s detailed accounts of sexual harassment by Gov. Cuomo are extremely serious and painful to read.
There must be an independent investigation – not one led by an individual selected by the Governor, but by the office of the Attorney General.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 28, 2021
Ocasio-Cortez’s call for action follows two former Cuomo aides coming forward with claims accusing the governor of making unwanted sexual advances and lewd comments.
On Wednesday, Boylan, the former deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to Cuomo, alleged the governor once attempted to kiss her on the mouth. Boylan also alleges Cuomo’s top female staff members “normalized” the governor’s conduct. In October 2017, Cuomo invited her to play “strip poker,” according to Boylan.
On Friday, Charlotte Bennett, a former health policy adviser in the Cuomo administration, told the New York Times the governor asked her inappropriate questions regarding her sex life, including whether she ever had relations with older men.
Both President Joe Biden and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) support an investigation into the allegations against Cuomo.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union:
President Biden has been consistent that he believes that every woman should be heard, should be treated with respect and with dignity. Charlotte should be treated with respect and dignity. So should Lindsey. There should be an independent review looking into these allegations, and that’s certainly something he supports and we believe should move forward as quickly as possible. … There should be an independent review of these allegations. They’re serious. It was hard to read that story as a woman, and that process should move forward as quickly as possible, and that’s something we all support and the president supports.
Cuomo acknowledged for the first time Sunday that some of his behavior with women “may have been insensitive or too personal,” and said he would cooperate with a sexual harassment investigation led by the state’s attorney general.
In a statement released amid mounting criticism from within his own party, the Democrat maintained he had never inappropriately touched or propositioned anyone. But he said he had teased people about their personal lives in an attempt to be “playful.”
“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. I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.