New York representative Kathleen Rice has called for the resignation of governor Andrew Cuomo after a third allegation of sexual harassment was made against him, which included the publication of what appeared to be a corroborating photograph.
The New York Times on Monday reported on the allegations of a young woman who said the governor inappropriately touched her and asked to kiss her at a wedding reception in 2019.
It is the third sexual harassment allegation made against Mr Cuomo in recent weeks, who was also accused of inappropriate conduct by two former aides.
Calling for the first time for Mr Cuomo’s resignation, the Democrat representative for New York’s 4th congressional district Ms Rice wrote on Twitter: “The time has come. The Governor must resign.”
It’s a sentiment that has been echoed by several other Democrats, including New York state assembly member Jessica González-Rojas and state senator Gustavo Rivera, who took to Twitter to condemn Mr Cuomo.
Anna Ruch, 33, told the Times Mr Cuomo put his hand on her bare lower back, and that when she removed it he accused her of being “aggressive”. He then put his hands on both her cheeks and asked if he could kiss her, she says.
““I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed,” said Ms Ruch. “I turned my head away and didn’t have words in that moment.”
Earlier, two of his former aides, Lindsey Boylan, a former state economic development official, and Charlotte Bennett, an executive assistant and health policy adviser in the Cuomo administration, alleged inappropriate behaviour by Mr Cuomo during their tenure.
Ms Boylan said Mr Cuomo had harassed her on several occasions from 2016 to 2018, and at one point kissed her on the lips at his Manhattan office without her consent.
Ms Bennett accused Mr Cuomo of asking her personal questions about her sex life and if she had ever had sex with older men.
An investigation has been initiated into the allegations by the former aides after authorisation from the governor’s office.
Mr Cuomo’s office is yet to directly address Ms Ruch’s allegations, but in a statement on Sunday he denied that he had inappropriately touched anyone and said his attempts at jokes had been misconstrued.
"I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended," he said.
"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," the governor stated.
Mr Cuomo has also asked for an independent review to look into the allegations against him.
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