Third Cuomo Accuser Steps Forward... and with Evidence

Posted: Mar 01, 2021 9:05 PM
Third Cuomo Accuser Steps Forward... and with Evidence

Source: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

A third woman, 33-year-old Anna Ruch, on Monday stepped forward to accuse New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) of sexual harassment. 

Ruch met Cuomo at a mutual friend's wedding reception in Sept. 2019. The two had a discussion after Cuomo offered positive thoughts about the newlyweds. 

According to The New York Times, Cuomo allegedly placed his hand on Ruch's lower back, which she removed with her own. He allegedly said she was "aggressive," placed his hands on her cheeks, and loudly asked if he could kiss her. As Cuomo leaned in to kiss her, Ruch pulled away. 

“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.”

A friend who saw and heard the ordeal backed up Ruch's allegations and supplied a photo of the incident in question.

A third woman has accused Governor Cuomo of unwanted touching and sexual attention, saying he placed his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her at her friend's wedding. A friend took a series of pictures of the incident as it occurred.

— Evan Hill (@evanchill) March 2, 2021

When The Times asked Cuomo's office for a statement, a spokesman referred reporters to a general statement that was released Sunday night about a previous accusation made by a 25-year-old former staffer, Charolette Bennett. 

"I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation," Cuomo's Sunday night statement said. "To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that."

This is the third in a string of sexual harassment allegations made against the New York governor. The other two accusations, however, were brought about by former staffers. This is the first one that has been raised outside of the workplace.

Originally, Cuomo tapped former U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones to conduct the investigation. Jones was reportedly a former law partner of one of Cuomo's closest advisers. He reversed his decision after criticism, particularly from members of his own party.

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) and New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge Janet DiFiore are now conducting the investigation.