Andrew Cuomo has been accused of sexual harassment three times since December, but the New York governor says he’s not going anywhere.
In his first public comments since a third accusation, Cuomo on Wednesday indicated he was embarrassed for his actions and offered an apology.
“I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” he said during an appearance at the State Capitol. “It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it and frankly embarrassed by it and that’s not easy to say but that’s the truth.”
Cuomo added that he “never touched anyone inappropriately.” But even fellow Democrats are calling for him to step aside.
“I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable,” he said. “And I certainly never meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do.”
He added that he has “learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people. … I will be the better for this experience.”
The most recent allegation comes as Attorney General Letitia James said that the governor’s office gave her office permission to perform an independent investigation.
Two former Cuomo aides have also accused him of sexual harassment, including Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year old former health advisor to Cuomo.
Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year-old former health adviser to Cuomo, told The New York Times that Cuomo sexually harassed her last summer.
Per Bennett, Cuomo said in June that he was open to dating women in their 20s, asking her if she thought age made a difference in romantic relationships, the New York Times reported. Cuomo is 63.
“I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” Bennett said.
“Governor Andrew Cuomo has created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected,” Boylan wrote. “His inappropriate behavior toward women was an affirmation that he liked you, that you must be doing something right. He used intimidation to silence his critics. And if you dared to speak up, you would face consequences.”