A third woman has come forward and accused Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual misconduct.
Anna Ruch met the New York Democrat at a September 2019 New York City wedding reception, she told the New York Times Monday. Ruch, who is now 33 years old, said she thanked the governor for toasting her newly wed friends.
Cuomo put his hand on her bare lower back, Ruch told the Times.
“I promptly removed his hand with my hand, which I would have thought was a clear enough indicator that I was not wanting him to touch me,” she said.
Ruch said she moved his hand off her back, and Cuomo allegedly told her that she seemed “aggressive” before placing his hands on her cheeks and asking her if he could kiss her.
“He said, ‘Can I kiss you?’” Ruch told the Times. “I felt so uncomfortable and embarrassed when really he is the one who should have been embarrassed.”
His request was loud enough for her friend to hear, Ruch told the Times. She said she pulled away from the governor in confusion as he came closer to her. Her friend later told her that he had kissed her cheek, she said.
“I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed,” Ruch told the Times.“I turned my head away and didn’t have words in that moment.”
Ruch’s friend corroborated her account to the Times. She also provided the publication with text messages from the time and with photographs, both of which corroborated her account.
“It’s the act of impunity that strikes me,” Ruch told the publication. “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. And even with what I could do, removing his hand from my lower back, even doing that was not clear enough.”
Two former Cuomo employees, Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, have also accused the governor of sexual harassment in the workplace. Cuomo has denied the allegations and said that he is often “being playful” and making “jokes that I think are funny” with employees.
Ruch’s account differs from the others in that she never worked for Cuomo or for New York State. She formerly worked for President Barack Obama’s administration and for the 2020 Biden campaign, according to the Times.
Cuomo did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation. On Sunday, he apologized if his actions were “misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation.”
“I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm,” the governor said in a Sunday statement. “I spend most of my life at work and colleagues are often also personal friends.”
“I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good natured way,” he said. “I do it in public and in private.”
“You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times. I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married. I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business.”