Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released a statement on Monday where she announced support for an investigation into allegations of sexual assault that have been waged against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).
“These stories are difficult to read, and the allegations brought forth raise serious questions that the women who have come forward and all New Yorkers deserve answers to,” Clinton said in the statement.
“I’m glad to see that there will be a full, independent, and thorough investigation,” she added.
Last week, a former Cuomo aide went public with accusations of unwanted sexual advances from Cuomo.
Lindsey Boylan, the former deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to Cuomo, said Cuomo repeatedly touched her body, attempted to kiss her on the mouth, invited her to play “strip poker,” and overtly objectified her, documenting her experiences with screenshots of emails and texts in a Medium post.
According to Boylan, Cuomo’s top female staff members “normalized” the governor’s behavior and she was “reprimanded” when she chose to “speak up” after Cuomo kissed her without consent. Boylan wrote:
After that, my fears worsened. I came to work nauseous every day. My relationship with his senior team — mostly women — grew hostile after I started speaking up for myself. I was reprimanded and told to get in line by his top aides, but I could no longer ignore it.
On September 26, 2018, I sent a mass email informing staff members of my resignation.
A second former aide came forward with sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo on Sunday. Charlotte Bennett, a health policy adviser in the Democratic governor’s administration until November, told the New York Times that Cuomo inquired about her sex life and asked whether she had had sex with older men.
A video resurfaced on Sunday of Cuomo saying to a female reporter, “I want to see you eat the whole sausage,” during the 2016 New York State Fair.
On Sunday, Cuomo issued a statement, saying he was “truly sorry” if “some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation.”
“To be clear I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said, adding:
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.
According to Cuomo’s statement, Bennett was a “hardworking and valued member of our team during COVID” and “she has every right to speak out.”
“I never made advances toward Ms. Bennett nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate,” Cuomo added. “The last thing I would ever have wanted was to make her feel any of the things that are being reported.”
“I ask all New Yorkers to await the findings of the review so that they know the facts before making any judgements,” Cuomo said. “I will have no further comment until the review has concluded.”
New York attorney general Letitia James announced Monday that Cuomo’s office had sent her a letter allowing her to conduct an independent investigation.