A third woman has come out to accuse Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment — and this time there are photos.
Anna Ruch, a former Biden 2020 campaign worker, told The New York Times that the governor made unwanted sexual advances toward her after they met at a wedding in New York City in 2019. She also accused Cuomo, 63, of kissing her without her permission, even as she tried to pull away. Ruch said the encounter left her “confused and shocked and embarrassed.”
“The governor was working the room after toasting the newlyweds, and when he came upon Ms. Ruch, now 33, she thanked him for his kind words about her friends,” said the Times. “But what happened next instantly unsettled her: Mr. Cuomo put his hand on Ms. Ruch’s bare lower back, she said in an interview on Monday.”
“When she removed his hand with her own, Ms. Ruch recalled, the governor remarked that she seemed ‘aggressive’ and placed his hands on her cheeks. He asked if he could kiss her, loudly enough for a friend standing nearby to hear. Ms. Ruch was bewildered by the entreaty, she said, and pulled away as the governor drew closer.
“I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed,” said Ruch, whose recollection was confirmed to the Times by the friend, contemporaneous text messages, and even photographs from the event. “I turned my head away and didn’t have words in that moment.”
A friend took a series of pictures of the incident as it occurred.
Anna Ruch said she felt “uncomfortable and embarrassed” when Mr. Cuomo placed his hands on her face and asked to kiss her. pic.twitter.com/PdO7v4WjO3
— TE᙭ᗩᔕ ᖇEᗪ ᑭIᒪᒪ (@RedPillLaredo) March 2, 2021
“It’s the act of impunity that strikes me,” Ruch said. “I didn’t have a choice in that matter. I didn’t have a choice in his physical dominance over me at that moment. And that’s what infuriates me.”
Ruch is the third woman to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment. Her allegations drew support from another accuser, Charlotte Bennett.
“I stand with Anna Ruch. Anna — I hear you, I see you. I’m so sorry. His inappropriate and aggressive behavior cannot be justified or normalized. Thank you for your courage and strength. Here for you always,” Bennett worked on Twitter.
I stand with Anna Ruch. Anna — I hear you, I see you. I’m so sorry. His inappropriate and aggressive behavior cannot be justified or normalized. Thank you for your courage and strength. Here for you always. https://t.co/EkxV05VPVX
— Charlotte Bennett (@_char_bennett_) March 2, 2021
Bennett, a former Cuomo aide, alleges that the governor inquired about her sex life and asked her if she would be amenable to a relationship with an older man. And another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, said Cuomo “made inappropriate comments about her appearance, kissed her without her consent at the end of a meeting and once suggested they play strip poker while aboard his state-owned jet,” The Associated Press reported.
Cuomo initially denied the allegations from Boylan. “As we said before, Ms. Boylan’s claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false,” the governor’s press secretary said in a statement.
But the embattled governor has since tried to play down the encounters, saying he was just trying to “add some levity” to serious events. He also claims his words and actions were “misinterpreted” and that some of his behavior with women “may have been insensitive or too personal.”
“To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that,” he said on Monday.
But that same day, New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, said she would “move forward” on starting an investigation into the allegations against Cuomo after she received a proper referral from the governor’s office.
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