February 27, 2021
The Governor now has a third accuser, this is the second time it has been a sexual harassment case. The story was broken by the NY Times on Saturday night in the 6:00 hour, and the governor issued the following statement:
Ms. Bennett was a hardworking and valued member of our team during COVID. She has every right to speak out. “When she came to me and opened up about being a sexual assault survivor and how it shaped her and her ongoing efforts to create an organization that empowered her voice to help other survivors, I tried to be supportive and helpful. Ms. Bennett’s initial impression was right: I was trying to be a mentor to her. 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. “This situation cannot and should not be resolved in the press; I believe the best way to get to the truth is through a full and thorough outside review and I am directing all state employees to comply with that effort. I ask all New Yorkers to await the findings of the review so that they know the facts before making any judgements. I will have no further comment until the review has concluded.”
STATEMENT FROM BETH GARVEY, SPECIAL COUNSEL AND SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE GOVERNOR
“Ms. Bennett’s concerns were treated with sensitivity and respect and in accordance with applicable law and policy.
“The matter was promptly escalated to special counsel. Ms. Bennett received the transfer she requested to a position in which she had expressed a long-standing interest, and was thoroughly debriefed on the facts which did not include a claim of physical contact or inappropriate sexual conduct. She was consulted regarding the resolution, and expressed satisfaction and appreciation for the way in which it was handled.
“The determination reached based on the information Ms Bennett provided was that no further action was required which was consistent with Ms Bennett’s wishes.
“Although in no way required by law, the Governor has requested an independent review and all staff will cooperate in that endeavor. Former Federal Judge Barbara Jones will lead the review.”