The former girlfriend of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) reacted Monday to allegations of sexual harassment against the governor, simply telling the New York Post, “Oh my God.”
The Post said:
[Sandra] Lee, 54, made the remark but declined to comment further when asked by The Post about a New York Times piece published Saturday in which former Cuomo staffer Charlotte Bennett accused the governor of a series of off-color remarks that left her convinced he “wanted to sleep with” her.
On Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, the former deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to Cuomo, alleged the governor once attempted to kiss her on the lips. In October 2017, Cuomo invited her to play “strip poker,” according to Boylan. Further, Boylan also claimed Cuomo’s top female staffers “normalized” the governor’s conduct.
On Friday, Charlotte Bennett, a former health policy adviser in the Cuomo administration, told the New York Times the governor asked her inappropriate questions about her sex life, including whether she ever had sex with older men.
The allegations against Cuomo prompted President Joe Biden, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to call for an independent investigation into the scandal.
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.
Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter Sunday, “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”:
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
Cuomo acknowledged for the first time Sunday 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.