A Democrat responsible for signing bills passed by the New York Legislature now faces yet another sexual harassment allegation.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is accused of behaving inappropriately toward Anna Ruch at a private celebration.
Ruch, 33, claimed Cuomo put his hand on her exposed lower back at her New York City wedding reception back in September 2019. She removed his hand, and he responded by calling her “aggressive.”
The governor then placed his hands on her cheeks and loudly asked if he could kiss her in front of her friend standing nearby. Because Ruch did not personally know Cuomo, she felt uncomfortable and pulled away but the Democrat kept coming closer.
“I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed,” she said, according to Breitbart. “I turned my head away and did not have words in that moment.”
Ruch revealed her friend had taken photos and also saved text-messages to prove the alleged incident happened.
Cuomo recently explained his actions were out of boredom for being a civil servant.
“You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times [and] I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married,” he said in a statement. “I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business.”
He thought teasing or bullying others would be funny and help him pass the time.
“At work, sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny,” he said. “I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good-natured way—I do it in public and in private.”
He felt sorry for Ruch, former aide Lindsey Boylan, her successor Charlotte Bennett, and a growing chorus of assembly representatives who complained about being mistreated.
“I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation [and,] to the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that,” he said. “I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm. I spend most of my life at work, and colleagues are often also personal friends.”
He also made it clear he wanted everyone who complained about being mistreated to stop resisting and tolerate it.
“My message to anyone doing that is you have misjudged what matters to me and my administration, and you should stop now—period,” he said.