Area lawmakers react to allegations by former Cuomo aide

18 hours ago

Several area lawmakers have commented after the news broke Saturday night in the New York Times that a second former aide, Charlotte Bennett, has accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment.

Cuomo released a statement Saturday night, saying “I never made advances toward Ms. Bennett nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate.

“The last thing I would ever have wanted was to make her feel any of the things that are being reported.”

Cuomo, however, said he had authorized an outside review of Bennett's allegations.

Among the local lawmakers commenting on the report was:

Congressman Joe Moelle, (D-25),  a former Majority Leader of the New York State Assembly, tweeted Saturday night "we have a responsibility to take all accusations seriously, which is why I support a thorough and independent review.”

Assemblymember Jen Lunsford (D-125), said on Twitter, “we can not and we will not tolerate sexual harassment. The Governor is not exempt from this policy. As a legislature, we must live true to our ideals and ensure that the allegations made against the Governor are properly and thoroughly investigated. We owe due respect to the women raising these concerns to treat their accusations seriously. And, if their allegations prove credible, the Governor must be held accountable.”

State Senator Jeremy Cooney, (D-56), said “these allegations are troubling and we are continuing to learn more. All accusations of sexual harassment deserve to be taken seriously. I support an immediate and independent investigation.”

State Senate Republican Leader Robert Ortt, whose 62nd district includes part of Monroe County, said "the latest allegations about Governor Cuomo’s conduct are incredibly disturbing. The review suggested by someone handpicked by the Governor himself, is an outrageous, completely unacceptable idea. We need a truly independent investigation, which is why I continue to support the calls of my colleagues for a Special Prosecutor appointed by the Attorney General.

On Sunday, Ortt said that Cuomo, "has repeatedly broken the public’s trust, " and Ortt is calling on Cuomo to resign.