At a time when multiple victims of alleged sexual harassment are coming forward about their experiences and accusing the perpetrators, a former-president is facing his own accusations.
According to The Hill, Roslyn Corrigan said she was groped in 2003 during an event at the CIA office in The Woodlands, Texas. She claims former President George H.W. Bush groped her when she was 16-years old.
Ms. Corrigan says former President Bush grabbed her doing a photo-op: “My initial action was absolute horror. I was really, really confused. The first thing I did was look at my mom and, while he was still standing there, I didn’t say anything. What does a teenager say to the ex-president of the United States? Like, ‘Hey dude, you shouldn’t have touched me like that?’”
She believes that it didn’t occur to people at the time that she was a child when it happened, “I don’t know, maybe it never really hit people that I was a child at the time and that goes beyond a guy being inappropriate in the workplace to a peer or somebody in his age range.”
Jim McGrath, spokesman for former President Bush says that the President “simply does not have it in his heart to knowingly cause anyone harm or distress.” Regarding Ms. Corrigan’s allegations, Mr. McGrath stated: “He again apologizes to anyone he may have offended during a photo op.”
In addition to Ms. Corrigan, five other women have alleged that former President Bush had also groped them, all during photo-ops according to The Hill. Former Republican Senatorial candidate for Maine Amanda Staples, actress Heather Lind, actress Jordana Grolnick, author Christina Baker Kline, and former journalist and Democrat city council candidate Liz Allen, all claim to have been groped.
Ms. Staples said Bush grabbed her during the photo-op, saying, “Oh I’m not THAT President.” Following the allegations of other women, she said she “couldn’t help but share” regarding her own experience of sexual harassment.
Responding to the numerous allegations, Mr. McGrath stated: “At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures.”
According to McGrath, in an effort to ward off any embarrassment from his arm slipping, former President Bush will make a joke about the matter: “To try to put people at ease, the President routinely tells the same joke — and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate.”
A woman has come forward claiming that President Bush Sr. groped her when she was 16. Are allegations of sexual misconduct political in nature?
Responding to the women who were offended by what they believe was groping, Mr. McGrath stated that the former President was apologetic, “To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.”
If the allegations are true that former President Bush was intentionally groping women, he needs to come forward and openly admit it. In any case, his “joking” has clearly offended these women and has been perceived as sexual harassment — intentional or not. People in places of power should not be allowed to escape scrutiny, simply due to the position they hold.