Cuomo Says He Was Trying to Help Charlotte Bennett With Past Assault in Response to AG Report

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo responded Tuesday to the state attorney general's report that he sexually harassed women, saying "the facts are much different than what has been portrayed."

Cuomo denied the alleged conduct detailed in the report. He also said one accusation in particular, brought by former aide Charlotte Bennett, "bothered me the most."

Bennett, who began to work with the governor in 2019, accused him of asking inappropriate questions about her history as a sexual assault survivor and her current romantic relationships.

The attorney general's report stated that after Bennett confided in the governor about her sexual assault, Cuomo asked her for details of the incident and whether it might affect her love life.

The governor also told her that he was "lonely" and "wanted to be touched," according to the report.

Cuomo said in a video statement Tuesday that her story resonated with him "deeply" since a member of his own family is a survivor of sexual assault in high school.

"I know too well the manifestations of sexual assault trauma, and the damage that it can do in the aftermath," the governor said. "I was trying to make sure she was working her way through it the best she could. I thought I had learned enough and had enough personal experience to help her, but I was wrong."

Cuomo continued: "I have heard Charlotte, and her lawyer, and I understand what they are saying. But they read into comments that I made and draw inferences that I never meant. They ascribe motives I never had. And simply put, they heard things that I just didn't say."

The governor then directly addressed Bennett, saying he is "truly and deeply sorry."

"I brought my personal experience into the workplace, and I shouldn't have done that," he said. "I was trying to help. Obviously, I didn't. I am even more sorry that I further complicated the situation. My goal was the exact opposite."

Bennett responded to Cuomo's statement on Twitter, writing that she wants accountability, not an apology.

"We have the facts. @NYGovCuomo broke federal & state law when he sexually harassed me & other current & former staff. I do not want an apology — I want accountability and an end to victim-blaming. NYS Assembly Speaker @CarlHeastie, it's time you do the right thing: impeach him," she wrote.

Bennett's lawyer, Debra Katz, said the attorney general's report demonstrated what her client said months ago and called on Cuomo to resign.

"Sadly, Charlotte was not the only extraordinary woman whose career in the Executive Department was cut short and derailed as a result of the Governor's illegal behavior," Katz said in a statement. "The Governor's actions have deprived New Yorkers of the professionalism, passion, and dedication to their state that Charlotte and the many others who refused to submit to his advances have to offer."

Updated 2:35 PM ET, with additional information.

Cuomo responds to Charlotte Bennett accusation
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday he was trying to help former aide Charlotte Bennett with past assault in response to the attorney general report finding he sexually harassed several women. In this photo, Cuomo speaks at Rochdale Village Community Center in Queens on April 5, 2021 in New York City. Brendan McDermid/Pool/Getty Images