One of three women who have accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment offered new details in her first televised interview on Thursday, while maintaining the remarks he made a day earlier were “not an apology."
Speaking with CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell on Thursday, Bennett said the statements Cuomo made at a press conference on Wednesday did not constitute an apology.
“It’s not an apology. It’s not an issue of my feelings. It’s an issue of his actions,” Bennett said. “The fact is that he was sexually harassing me, and he has not apologized for sexually harassing me, and he can’t even use my name.”
Cuomo, Bennett told O'Donnell, asked her intimate questions about her personal life during her time as his aide. The governor seemed fixated on the fact that she was open about being a sexual assault survivor, she said.
In June of last year, Cuomo called her into his office to dictate notes, she said. At some point during the dictation, she claimed, he asked her to turn off the tape recorder.
“And then he explains, at that point, that he is looking for a girlfriend. He’s lonely, he’s tired,” she said. “He asked me if age difference mattered. He also explained that he was fine with anyone over 22.”
Cuomo also asked Bennett if she “had trouble enjoying being with someone, because of [her] trauma,” she said.
“I thought, ‘He’s trying to sleep with me. The governor’s trying to sleep with me. And I’m deeply uncomfortable, and I have to get out of this room as soon as possible,’” she recalled. “Without explicitly saying it, he implied, to me, that I was old enough for him and he was lonely.”
Bennett, who texted a friend after her conversation with Cuomo, told O’Donnell she felt “shame” about their conversation after the fact.
“I feel like people put the onus on the woman to shut that conversation down,” she said. “And by answering I was somehow engaging in that or enabling it when in fact I was just terrified.”
Cuomo on Wednesday said he felt “awful” and “embarrassed” by the allegations he is facing, but continued to maintain he “never knew at the time [he] was making anyone feel uncomfortable.” The governor also refused to resign, despite calls by a number of lawmakers for him to do so.
Asked about Bennett’s allegations on Thursday, Cuomo’s office directed CBS News to the remarks he made during his press conference on Wednesday, O’Donnell said.