A third woman has now stepped forward to accuse New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of unwanted sexual advances – making the problem much too large for the Democrats to sweep under the rug as they have been known to do in the past.
According to The New York Times, 33-year-old Anna Ruch has claimed that Cuomo asked to kiss her at a wedding in 2019. In an interview Monday, she specified that Cuomo put his hand on her bare lower back.
Ruch said she pulled away and was “so confused and shocked and embarrassed” by the incident. “I turned my head away and didn’t have words in that moment,” she reportedly said.
A spokesperson for Cuomo reportedly referred the Times to a more general statement in which Cuomo apologized for things that “have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation.”
Over the past week alone, two of Cuomo’s former aides have accused him of sexual harassment – something he has denied in attempts to claim he was just being playful.
The latest allegation comes as Attorney General Letitia James announced that the governor’s office sent a letter permitting her office to perform an independent investigation.
Cuomo aide Lindsey Boylan published a blog post accusing the governor of unwanted touching and kissing. Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year-old former staffer, claimed Cuomo talked about his willingness to have relationships with women in their 20s.
Since these allegations have surfaced against the Governor – who was already facing a massive scandal after a disastrous decision he made left thousands of elderly New Yorkers dead from COVID19 – Democrats have called on him to resign.
On Monday, New York Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara became the latest Democrat to call on Cuomo to step down.
“No surprise to see the Governor quickly trying to interfere with this investigation after his ‘apology,'” Santabarbara wrote on Twitter.
“This abuse of power will only continue and further distract from our work at the State Capitol,” the assemblyman added. “I firmly believe the Governor’s resignation would be for the good of our state.”
Democratic Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou called on Cuomo to resign on Saturday following the harassment allegations.
“Our governor is a manipulative, controlling, abusive, power obsessed, predator,” Niou charged. “Please resign.”
New York state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi released a statement on Saturday calling for the governor to resign and commending Boylan and Bennett for coming forward with their accusations.
“A truly independent investigation into allegations made by Ms. Bennett, Ms. Boyland, and any forthcoming survivors should take place — but the Governor’s influence touches all entities in New York that might review his conduct,” wrote Biaggi in her statement.
“The current review, arranged by the Governor’s team and overseen by an individual who has a work history with his close associates, does not meet any standard of independence,” she continued.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio went after Cuomo for his statement on Monday, asking in a radio interview with Hot 97 in New York City, “Who the hell tries to explain that by saying I was just joking around?”
De Blasio continued on in the interview to say that he had “seen” Cuomo act “abusive in a way that would not be accepted by anyone in leadership.”