Updated: March 01, 2021 06:33 PM
Created: March 01, 2021 04:19 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Monday afternoon, Charlotte Bennett, one of the two accusers of sexual harassment against Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a new statement in which she said "the Governor has refused to acknowledge or take responsibility for his predatory behavior."
In the statement, Bennett she said coming forward was an "excruciating decision." She says she came forward because "I had faith that I would be supported and believed."
Sunday, Gov. Cuomo said in a statement "At work sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny. I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good natured way. I do it in public and in private. You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times. I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married. I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business."
"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."
"To be clear I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to."
Monday, the leader of Republicans in the state senate called for the governor to resign.
By late Sunday night, 27 state assemblywomen signed a statement which says there is no room for sexual harassment anywhere, including state government. It was co-authored by Assemblywoman Jen Lunsford (D, 135) from Fairport.
Jen Lunsford, NYS Assembly: "I know what it feels like have a mentor or superior who you think values for your intellect or your competency only to find out they have an ulterior motive, is difficult to hear."
The details remind Assemblywoman Lunsford of her own experiences working in law firms.
"When you hear of sexual harassment in the workplace, it's exactly what you're seeing here where it's subtle. And it's little things. And it's easily explained away. And it puts women in a difficult situation," Lunsford said. "And I think that's what we're hearing from the governor, this idea that you're in the inside. You're a cool girl. So I can make these jokes with you. And not understanding that because of the power dynamics, we're not in a position to respond. That if we push back, we can't hang. We're not on the inside and we get labeled as a trouble maker."
Monday, the state attorney general got a letter from the governor's special counsel authorizing the AG to hire a law firm to investigate the claims against the governor by two former aides.
In Albany, Senate Minority Leader, Robert Ortt (R, 62) said the governor is facing two investigations: one on nursing homes and now one on sexual harassment.
"And that was why I called for the governor to resign and step aside," Sen. Ortt said.
The statement signed by more than two dozen women in the state assembly ends by saying if the allegations are true, "the governor must be held accountable."
Brean: "Knowing what you know right now, do you think the governor should resign?"
Lunsford: "I have a personal policy where I don't call on people to resign. I think that it's up to them to decide if they want to quit or be fired if wrongdoing is proven."
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