Cuomo Accused of Unwanted Advance at a Wedding: ‘Can I Kiss You?’

The Four Percent


She described a series of uncomfortable interactions with Mr. Cuomo, including an unsolicited kiss in 2018, which the governor has strenuously denied.

Then, on Saturday, Ms. Bennett recalled her own encounters with Mr. Cuomo in the spring, when she said the governor asked her personal questions, including whether she had slept with older men, whether she was monogamous, and whether she thought age mattered in relationships. Ms. Bennett is 25; the governor is 63.

The interactions, which Ms. Bennett described in a series of interviews with The Times, left her certain that the governor was suggesting a sexual relationship.

“I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me,” Ms. Bennett told The Times, saying she felt scared and upset. “And was wondering how I was going to get out of it.”

For Ms. Ruch, the circumstances were different, her exchange with the governor taking place at a well-attended celebration far from any official setting. In fact, the episode’s highly visible nature made it all the more jarring, she suggested. She recalled Mr. Cuomo moving his hand to the small of her back — exposed in an open-back dress — within moments of their being introduced and shaking hands at the reception.

Ms. Ruch said that touch, on her bare skin, discomfited her. “I promptly removed his hand with my hand, which I would have thought was a clear enough indicator that I was not wanting him to touch me,” she said.

Instead, Ms. Ruch said, Mr. Cuomo called her “aggressive” and placed his hands on her cheeks.

“He said, ‘Can I kiss you?’” Ms. Ruch said. “I felt so uncomfortable and embarrassed when really he is the one who should have been embarrassed.” (A friend captured the exchange in a series of photographs taken on Ms. Ruch’s cellphone.)


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