A Third Woman Accuses Andrew Cuomo Of Sexual Harassment

by Julie Scagell
SETH WENIG/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Three women have now come forward with sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

A third woman has now come forward accusing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of unwanted advances, The New York Times reported Monday. The governor is already in hot water after two other women came forward with sexual harassment allegations.

Anna Ruch said she met Cuomo at a wedding reception in New York in 2019. She told the Times she thanked Cuomo for a toast he gave to the newlyweds. Then, she says, he put his hand on her bare lower back. When she physically removed it, he grabbed her cheeks after calling her “aggressive.” Then, he asked if he could kiss her, and Ruch pulled away as the governor drew closer.

“I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed,” said Ruch, whose account was corroborated by a friend who heard Cuomo ask to kiss her. “I turned my head away and didn’t have words in that moment,” adding, “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.”

Cuomo is already under scrutiny in his state for allegedly mishandling the coronavirus crisis and vaccine rollout. He’s been accused of allegedly covering up the state’s number of deaths that occurred in nursing homes. That, coupled with now three accusations of sexual harassment, leaves a lot of unanswered questions for the Governor.

Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year-old former staffer, claimed Cuomo talked about his willingness to have relationships with women in their twenties. Lindsey Boylan, another former aide, also came forward to accuse the governor of sexual harassment, including saying he kissed her in his office in 2018. She outlined her account in a published essay on Medium, in which she detailed her time working in Cuomo’s office, including when she said he invited her to play strip poker on a government plane, and another time when he described her as another woman’s “better looking sister.”

The latest allegation by Ruch comes as Attorney General Letitia James announced that the governor’s office sent a letter permitting her office to perform an independent investigation.

A spokesperson for Cuomo referred the Times to a more general statement in which Cuomo apologized for things that, “have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation.” He denied the first two accounts.

“I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me,” Bennett told The Times, saying she was scared and upset by the situation. “And was wondering how I was going to get out of it.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY-21) is calling for Cuomo’s resignation over the allegations. State Sen. John Mannion and Assemblymember Pamela Hunter also made statements related to the allegations. “All sexual harassment accusations should be taken seriously,” Hunter said. “Workplace sexual harassment, no matter where it occurs, is entirely unacceptable.”