Democratic US Representative from New York state, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, on Sunday took to Twitter to call for an "independent investigation" into claims that state Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed two former aides.
"Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett’s detailed accounts of sexual harassment by Gov. Cuomo are extremely serious and painful to read", AOC commented. "There must be an independent investigation - not one led by an individual selected by the Governor, but by the office of the Attorney General."
Ocasio-Cortez appears unsatisfied with an investigation announced by the governor's office led by a former federal judge, Barbara Jones. Beth Garvey, the governor's special counsel, said that the Attorney General of New York State and the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals were asked to "jointly select" an attorney "without political affiliation" to review the allegations.
Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett’s detailed accounts of sexual harassment by Gov. Cuomo are extremely serious and painful to read.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 28, 2021
There must be an independent investigation - not one led by an individual selected by the Governor, but by the office of the Attorney General.
AOC's remarks come as White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki echoed calls for "independent investigation", reaffirming President Biden's assertion that "every woman should be heard."
"President Biden has been consistent that he believes that every woman should be heard, should be treated with respect and with dignity. Charlotte should be treated with respect and dignity. So should Lindsey [Boylan]," Psaki told CNN. "There should be an independent review looking in to these allegations, and that's certainly something he supports and we believe should move forward as quickly as possible."
Earlier, two former Cuomo administration staffers, Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, separately accused him of sexually harassment. Boylan was the first to step forward with her story, alleging that Cuomo suggested that she play "strip poker" with him and, later, planted an unwanted kiss on her lips.
Bennett revealed her allegations earlier on Saturday to The New York Times, saying that, although Cuomo never touched her, he verbally hinted that he was open to sexual relations with women in their 20s and asked her whether she was okay with "age gaps" or if she had been with "older men" before.
The governor denied both allegations, claiming that he never acted inappropriately toward the two women. His office announced a "thorough review" into the two stories, with Cuomo urging New Yorkers to "await the findings of the review so that they know the facts before making any judgements."
Sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo coincide with the claim that his administration allegedly downplayed the real numbers of coronavirus fatalities in state nursing homes. In light of the scandal, many have called for his impeachment.