A third woman has come forward to accuse New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment.
Two former staffers of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, both of whom have publicly accused him of sexual harassment on the job, voiced their support for the latest woman to come forward.
“I stand with Anna Ruch,” former gubernatorial aide-turned-accuser Charlotte Bennett wrote on Twitter.
“Anna — I hear you, I see you. I’m so sorry,” Bennett, 25, wrote. “His inappropriate and aggressive behavior cannot be justified or normalized.”
She added: “Thank you for your courage and strength. Here for you always.”
In an interview published Monday evening, Anna Ruch told the New York Times that the embattled governor came onto her in September 2019 at a wedding reception in New York City.
Ms. Ruch, now 33, thanked Mr. Cuomo for his toasting her newlywed friends, the governor responded by putting his hand on Ms. Ruch’s bare lower back.
When she removed his hand with her own, the report cited:
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.’ Ruch was bewildered by the entreaty and pulled away as the governor drew closer.
“I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed,” said Ruch, whose recollection was corroborated by the friend, contemporaneous text messages and photographs from the event. “I turned my head away and didn’t have words in that moment.”
“He said, ‘Can I kiss you?’” Ruch said. “I felt so uncomfortable and embarrassed when really he is the one who should have been embarrassed.” Apparently, per the report, a friend captured the exchange in a series of photographs taken on Ruch’s cellphone.
Ruch later said she had to ask a friend if Cuomo’s lips had made contact with her face as she pulled away. The governor had kissed her cheek, she was told. Ruch said:
It’s the act of impunity that strikes me. 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.
Ruch said she posed for a photograph with Cuomo afterward. Once the governor walked away, Ruch’s friend approached her with a look of alarm.
“The women who have come forward with serious and credible charges against Governor Cuomo deserve to be heard and to be treated with dignity,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “The independent investigation must have due process and respect for everyone involved.”