NEW YORK – Calls for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's resignation intensified late Monday after a third woman accused him of offensive behavior, saying he'd touched her face and back and asked to kiss her moments after they met at a wedding reception.
Anna Ruch told The New York Times late Monday that she removed the Democratic governor's hand from her back, but he said she seemed “aggressive,” promptly put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her.
“I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed,” Ruch, now 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.”
An email seeking comment was sent to Ruch's photography business. Her social media accounts were private. An email was also sent to Cuomo's administration for comment.
The account from Ruch, who worked as a photographer at the White House during President Barack Obama's second term, made her the second woman to accuse Cuomo of touching her without permission, and fueled broader calls for Cuomo to step down, including from some in his own party.
“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 tweeted in comments echoed elsewhere. “Governor Cuomo must resign.”
The latest accusation follows sexual harassment allegations against the governor from two women who had worked for his administration, accounts that led New York’s independently elected attorney general to say she was moving ahead with an investigation of his conduct.
Attorney General Letitia James received a letter Monday from Cuomo’s office authorizing her to take charge of the probe after a weekend of wrangling over who should investigate.