One of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s sex-harassment accusers Monday ripped him for trying to explain away his past actions as just “jokes’’ — seething that he is refusing to “take responsibility for his predatory behavior.
“As we know, abusers — particularly those with tremendous amounts of power — are often repeat offenders who engage in manipulative tactics to diminish allegations, blame victims, deny wrongdoing and escape consequences,” former gubernatorial aide-turned-accuser Charlotte Bennett said in a scathing statement.
“It took the governor 24 hours and significant backlash to allow for a truly independent investigation,’’ she said of Cuomo’s move to at first personally appoint a retired judge to review the allegations against him, before finally caving in to outcry and passing the probe to the state attorney general.
“These are not the actions of someone who simply feels misunderstood; they are the actions of an individual who wields his power to avoid justice,’’ Bennett said of Cuomo.
She added that the governor “has refused to acknowledge or take responsibility for his predatory behavior” — and urged other potential victims to come forward with their stories, the Times said.
Bennett, 25, has said Cuomo, 63, asked her inappropriate questions and made her feel as if he “wanted to sleep with me” when she worked as one of his aides last spring, the Times reported.
When she told the governor she was thinking about getting a tattoo, he suggested she put it on her butt so her dresses would cover it, she said.
Her accusations came after former Cuomo aide Lindsey Boylan also accused the governor of making unwanted sexual advances, including kissing her and asking her if she liked to “play strip poker.”
Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday from The Post.
He said in statement Sunday, “At work sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny. I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good natured way.
“I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended.
“I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that.”
— Additional reporting by Bernadette Hogan