A third woman has come out to accuse Governor Cuomo of both unwanted and aggressive touching, as well as a request to kiss her at a wedding in 2019:
NY TIMES – Anna Ruch had never met Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo before encountering him at a crowded New York City wedding reception in September 2019. Her first impression was positive enough.
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. 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 Ms. 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.”
Ms. Ruch’s account comes after two former aides accused Mr. Cuomo of sexual harassment in the workplace, plunging his third term into turmoil as the governor’s defenders and Mr. Cuomo himself strain to explain his behavior.
Ruch explained to the Times how she felt about it and what she was thinking during and after the governor’s actions:
For Ms. Ruch, the circumstances were different, her exchange with the governor taking place at a well-attended celebration far from any official setting. In fact, the episode’s highly visible nature made it all the more jarring, she suggested. She recalled Mr. Cuomo moving his hand to the small of her back — exposed in an open-back dress — within moments of their being introduced and shaking hands at the reception.
Ms. Ruch said that touch, on her bare skin, discomfited her. “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.
Instead, Ms. Ruch said, Mr. Cuomo called her “aggressive” and placed his hands on her cheeks.
“He said, ‘Can I kiss you?’” Ms. Ruch said. “I felt so uncomfortable and embarrassed when really he is the one who should have been embarrassed.” (A friend captured the exchange in a series of photographs taken on Ms. Ruch’s cellphone.)
Shaken, Ms. Ruch said, she later had to ask a friend if Mr. Cuomo’s lips had made contact with her face as she pulled away. The governor had kissed her cheek, she was told.
“It’s the act of impunity that strikes me,” Ms. 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. And even with what I could do, removing his hand from my lower back, even doing that was not clear enough.”
Unnerved and baffled, Ms. Ruch said, she posed for a photograph with Mr. Cuomo afterward. Once the governor walked away, Ms. Ruch’s friend approached her with a look of alarm.
“It was when my friend looked at me and said, ‘Are you OK?’ with such genuine concern in her face that I realized how obviously inappropriate it was,” Ms. Ruch said, “not only to me but to those around me as well.”
In a text message a day or so later, Ms. Ruch wrote to the friend, “I’m so pissed,” referring to the governor as “this guy,” with an epithet in that description.
After collecting herself later that night, Ms. Ruch said, she had hoped to speak with the governor before he left the reception and confront him about his behavior.
But by then, she said, she could not find him.
“I would have rather just said it that night,” she said. “I wanted to say, ‘That wasn’t OK.’”
And the hits keep coming. Now it’s three women creating an awful lot of ‘smoke’ for Cuomo in New York. But you know, he’s just misunderstood and he’s sorry that they took it the wrong way. Cuomo isn’t really a creep who immediately touches girls he doesn’t know in the small of their backs and wants to kiss them, or play strip poker with them, as soon as he sees a pretty one. No, that’s not him. Believe him!
— Newsmax (@newsmax) March 2, 2021