“This allowed the governor to sexually harass Ms. Bennett, a subordinate employee who is almost 40 years his junior, with impunity,” Ms. Katz said. “We are confident that a thorough investigation of the workplace environment in Governor Cuomo’s office will conclude that the governor and his senior staff fostered a culture of abuse, harassment and secrecy.”
Ms. Garvey, the governor’s special counsel, responded by saying that “Ms. Bennett’s concerns were treated with sensitivity and respect and in accordance with applicable law and policy.”
The paperwork that Ms. James has asked the administration to preserve will be especially important as investigators scrutinize how members of the governor’s staff handled sexual harassment complaints made by its employees. Questions have already been raised about whether Mr. Cuomo’s aides followed proper protocol in reporting the allegations made by Ms. Bennett, who was an executive assistant at the time.
When Ms. Bennett told Jill DesRosiers, the governor’s chief of staff, that Mr. Cuomo had sexually harassed her in June, shortly after the alleged incident, the disclosure should have been reported to a state labor office. That would have prompted an investigation into her complaint.
It remains unclear whether the governor’s aides properly reported her complaint to the labor office, known as the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations, as required under an executive order that Mr. Cuomo issued in 2018 amid the #MeToo movement.
Ms. Bennett said she gave a lengthy statement regarding her interactions with the governor to a special counsel to Mr. Cuomo, Judith Mogul. Ms. Bennett said she made it clear to Ms. Mogul that she believed the governor had propositioned her and was grooming her for sex, telling Mr. Cuomo’s aides that she feared retaliation for reporting his behavior.
Shortly after her initial complaint to Ms. DesRosiers, Ms. Bennett was transferred to another job in a different part of the State Capitol. The governor’s office did not say on Friday whether Ms. Bennett’s complaint was reported or investigated.
“As the documents will reflect, I acted consistent with the information provided, the requirements of the law, and Charlotte’s wishes,” Ms. Mogul said in a statement on Friday.