The lawsuit alleges that after Bennett reported sexual harassment to Cuomo and expressed fear of retaliation from the then-governor, he was moved to a “lower position” in another department. She wasn’t interviewed about her allegations until weeks later, the suit says, and Executive Chamber staff didn’t refer her sexual harassment complaint to the appropriate department for investigation.
“Ultimately, Ms. Bennett was forced to involuntarily leave her employment with the State because her work environment became intolerable,” the lawsuit states.
Cuomo’s attorney Rita Glavin said the former governor continues to deny Bennett’s allegations.
“The governor has always said he was not harassing anyone and every day more information is coming to light about how evidence in favor of the governor was suppressed and crucial facts that undermined the credibility of witnesses were omitted or ignored,” Glavin said. Statement to CNN in response to the lawsuit.
Bennett claims in her suit that she suffered from “almost debilitating anxiety,” symptoms of depression and more as a result of Cuomo’s alleged harassment.
Bennett’s claims were also part of a report by investigators hired by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who accused Cuomo of sexually harassing at least 11 women.
Cuomo filed an ethics complaint on Tuesday against James and the two investigators he hired, accusing him of knowingly omitting information in the report that questioned the credibility of witnesses and failing to correct errors in the report.
Cuomo’s ethics complaint says there are discrepancies between what Bennett told the governor’s special counsel and chief of staff in the summer of 2020 about his dealings with the then-governor and what he later told attorney general investigators.
“Ms. Bennett never suggested to the special counsel that I made sexual advances to her during any of her interviews,” Cuomo said in his complaint. “Indeed, when asked if I had ever made any sexual advances, Mrs Bennett replied ‘No’.”
In his lawsuit, Bennett alleges that after hours of testimony and hundreds of pages of investigative documents, Cuomo “used his media platform to portray him as a liar and seek to undermine his credibility.”
The suit also includes former Cuomo aides Melissa DeRosa, Judith Mogul and Jill DeRosiers. CNN reached out to them for comment.
“My role as a public servant was abruptly terminated following allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation against me by Governor Cuomo and his top aides. All must be held accountable for their actions,” Bennett said in a statement. .
Bennett for financial loss, loss of future professional opportunities and loss of future income, as well as emotional distress.