Anna Ruch told The New York Times that the governor asked to kiss her moments after they met at a wedding reception in September 2019, and that she had to remove his hand from her back.
It is alleged that when she removed his hand from her lower back, Cuomo said she seemed “aggressive” and placed his hands on her cheeks, asking if he could kiss her.
“I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed,” Ruch, now age 33, told the Times, which published a photo of the encounter showing the governor’s hands on her face. “I turned my head away and didn’t have words in that moment.”
Ruch, a former White House photographer during President Barack Obama’s second term, becomes the third woman in recent weeks to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment following allegations from former aides Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett.
The latest sexual harassment claim against Cuomo prompted a fresh wave of bipartisan elected officials calling for his resignation.
“The time has come,” Long Island Democratic Congresswoman Kathleen Rice posted online. “The Governor must resign.”
Boylan, who penned the initial blog post that put Cuomo’s behavior in the spotlight, took to social media to express support for Ruch when the story came out in the Times.
“This doesn’t make me feel validated. It makes me feel sick. I feel nauseous thinking about Anna’s experience. I am sending her love and light,” she posted. “Charlotte and I are with you, Anna.”
Hudson Valley Republican Assemblyman Mike Lawler, a longtime Cuomo critic. added; “Governor Cuomo needs to resign immediately. Tonight. Without delay.”
“The pattern of sexual harassment and predatory behavior by Governor Cuomo is unacceptable, and I believe the women coming forward,” New York City Councilman Antonio Reynoso also tweeted. “Governor Cuomo must resign.”
Westchester Democratic Assemblyman Tom Abinanti added: “As Dizzy Dean said (1944): stick a fork in him - he’s done,” in response to latest The New York Times story.
Yonkers City Councilwoman Shanae Williams, who is running for Westchester County Clerk, commended the three women for coming forward, adding that she “believes their stories.”
“Their experiences are both horrifying and not uncommon in the workplace. It’s time we end the era of powerful men who get away with harassment and abusive behavior behind closed doors,” she said. "In light of the clear evidence that has come out, I’m calling on Governor Cuomo to resign today.”
Cuomo has not addressed the latest allegations directly, but referred to the statement he released over the weekend when he said that he “now understands that (his) interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of (his) comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended.”
“I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation," Cuomo said. “To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that.
"To be clear I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to.”
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