Monday, 10 May 2021

Andrew Cuomo: Third woman ‘shocked and embarrassed’ as she accuses New York governor of inappropriate behaviour

A third woman has accused New York governor Andrew Cuomo of inappropriate behaviour, saying he touched her back and face and asked to kiss her moments after meeting at a wedding.

Mr Cuomo is already facing an investigation over other sexual harassment claims and pressure for him to step aside is growing.

Anna Ruch, 33, told the New York Times she was “so confused and shocked and embarrassed” by the encounter.

She said she removed the governor’s hand from her bare lower back, but he said she seemed “aggressive”, and he then put his hands on her face and asked to kiss her.

“I turned my head away and didn’t have words in that moment,” said Ms Ruch.

The paper published a picture showing Mr Cuomo’s hands on her face at the September 2019 wedding reception – the first time they had met.

Mr Cuomo, 63, has not directly addressed the latest allegation but a spokesman referred to a previous statement from the governor.

In it, he said he was “truly sorry” and said some of his “interactions may have been insensitive or too personal” and his words “misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation”.

The governor denied inappropriately touching or propositioning anyone after the first two women, Charlotte Bennett and Lindsey Boylan, came forward.

Ms Bennett, a former aide to Mr Cuomo, told The New York Times on Saturday that he had asked about her sex life, including whether she had ever had sex with older men and if she was monogamous in her relationships.

The 25-year-old said she took it as gauging her interest in an affair.

Ms Boylan, a former economic adviser, has also claimed Mr Cuomo unwantedly kissed her on the mouth, made comments about her appearance and once suggested they play strip poker on his state-owned jet.

New York’s attorney general is heading an investigation into the claims and is set to have the power to subpoena witnesses and documents.

After Ms Ruch came forward with her claims, Ms Bennett tweeted her in thanks for her “courage and strength” in coming forward.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and other officials have said that while he is being investigated Mr Cuomo should give up emergency powers he has held since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Mr Cuomo was praised for his reaction to the COVID pandemic last year, when New York was the centre of the US outbreak, and his news conferences were a regular feature on news channels.

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