The woman, Anna Roach, told The Times that Cuomo approached her during a crowded wedding in New York in 2019. Roach told the newspaper that she thanked Cuomo for the toast he gave the newlyweds, and in response, she said he placed his hand on her lower back, which the newspaper said It is revealed in an open back gown.
When Roach removed his hand, Cuomo allegedly told her that she appeared “aggressive” as he put his hands on her cheeks, as she reported to The Times. Roche said Cuomo then asked her if he could kiss her, and distanced herself when he approached her.
“I was so confused, shocked, and embarrassed,” Roach told the newspaper. “I turned my head away and had no words at that moment.”
The newspaper also reported that Roach says she was later told by a friend that Cuomo kissed her cheek as she pulled away.
The newspaper reported that her version of the episode was loud enough and could be heard by a friend standing near her, who confirmed the exchange, along with photos from the event and text messages at the time. The New York Times did not identify the friend in its reports.
The Times posted one photo of the two of them together at the event, in which Cuomo appears to be putting his hands around Rukh’s face, but it’s unclear what happened at that moment.
CNN has not verified Roach’s allegations against the New York governor.
Roche did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Rukh is the first woman to file a charge against Cuomo who did not work for him. The other two women – Lindsay Boylan and Charlotte Bennett – who accused the governor of sexual harassment were associates of the Como administration.
A spokesman for Cuomo did not directly address Roach’s accusation to the newspaper, but he did refer to a statement issued on Sunday evening in the face of a backlash from Boylan and Bennett’s allegations of sexual harassment.
“To be clear, I have never inappropriately touched anyone, never suggested anyone, and never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to,” Cuomo said in the statement.
Cuomo also acknowledged that some of his earlier comments “may have been insensitive or very personal” and said he was “really sorry” for those who may have “misinterpreted (the notes) as unwanted flirtation.”
She told The Times that she interpreted the exchange – which it said took place in June, while the country was in the midst of fighting the pandemic – as what the newspaper described as “clear initiatives for a sexual relationship.”
Cuomo denied her allegations, saying he believed he was acting as a mentor and had not made any progress towards Mrs. Bennett, and I had no intention of acting in any inappropriate way.
CNN did not return calls to Bennett for comment.
“Telling the truth is not about seeking revenge. I was proud to work in the Como administration. For a long time I have been looking at the governor. But his abusive behavior must stop,” she wrote.
“I speak because I have the privilege to do this when so many others do not.”
Cuomo vehemently denied the allegations at a press conference in December when Boylan first released them. CNN was unable to confirm the allegations, and when asked for more comments, Boylan responded that she was allowing her Medium post to speak for herself.
James rejected Cuomo’s proposal that it, together with the Chief Justice of New York, choose an independent attorney to conduct a “comprehensive and independent review” of the allegations against him. Instead, James demanded – and Cuomo eventually agreed – that she alone would manage the investigation by selecting an outside law firm that would be given summoning authority.
“The results will be revealed in a public report,” she said.