George H.W. Bush facing allegations he groped 16-year-old in 2003
6:22 AM, Nov 14, 2017
Former President George H.W. Bush is facing allegations that he squeezed a teenager's buttocks in 2003.
In an interview with Time magazine published Monday, Roslyn Corrigan said she was 16 years old when Bush, then 79, touched her inappropriately at a November 2003 event in The Woodlands, Texas, office of the CIA, where her father had gathered with fellow intelligence officers and family members to meet Bush.
Corrigan told the magazine Bush groped her buttocks as she and her mother, Sari Young, posed for a photograph with the former president.
"As soon as the picture was being snapped, on the one-two-three he dropped his hands from my waist down to my buttocks and gave it a nice, ripe squeeze, which would account for the fact that in the photograph my mouth is hanging wide open," Corrigan told Time, her first public interview about the incident. "I was like, 'Oh my goodness, what just happened?'"
"My initial reaction was absolute horror. I was really, really confused," Corrigan said. "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?'"
CNN has not independently confirmed Corrigan's account. Neither Corrigan nor her attorney, Gloria Allred, would comment on the matter to CNN Monday.
Corrigan's account is similar to those shared by at least three other women who say they were touched inappropriately during photo ops with the former president. The magazine spoke with seven people, including Corrigan's family members and friends, who confirmed that they had been told of the alleged groping incident prior to the other recent allegations.
Jim McGrath, a spokesman for Bush, issued an apology on the former president's behalf in the wake of this latest allegation.
"George Bush simply does not have it in his heart to knowingly cause anyone distress, and he again apologizes to anyone he offended during a photo op," McGrath told CNN.
In statement released last month in response to the previous allegations, McGrath noted the president's advanced age and his physical limitations.
"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," he wrote. "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. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely."
In an interview with CNN in October, actress Jordana Grolnick, one of the woman who says Bush groped her, described a 2016 incident in which she said she was groped by Bush.
"He came backstage to take a picture with a group of girls and he was in a wheelchair and he reached his hand around and said to the group ... 'Do you know who my favorite magician is?' And we all said, 'No, who,' and he said 'David Cop-a-Feel' and at that moment, I felt him grab my behind," she said.
McGrath confirmed to CNN in October that he was referring to the David "Cop-a-Feel" joke mentioned by three of the women who have made allegations against the former president when he wrote last month's statement.
Corrigan did not mention the joke in the Time piece.
Actress Heather Lind, who appeared in the AMC's series 'Turn: Washington's Spies," wrote that Bush touched her inappropriately a few years ago as they were posing posting for a photograph and while she did not get into the specifics of the incident, she referred to the incident as a sexual assault.
"He didn't shake my hand. He touched me from behind his wheelchair with his wife, Barbara Bush, by his side and told me a dirty joke. And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again," Lind wrote in a now-deleted post on Instagram.
A third woman who wished to remain anonymous told CNN she met Bush at a VIP event in Houston in 2015. She said he squeezed her buttocks "a couple times. It was unmistakable. It was not just a pat. It was a serious squeeze."
Reactions to the revelations about Bush 41 have been mixed, with some coming to the former president's defense and attributing his actions to his age and physical illness -- Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for the past several years and suffers from a form of Parkinson's disease.
In the photo taken with Corrigan, he was not in a wheelchair and is clearly shown standing.
The incidents have also raised questions about the role of his family in preventing such contacts from occurring.
In October -- before Corrigan's account was made public -- CNN spoke with neuroscience and brain imaging expert Doctor Daniel Amen, who does not treat Bush, to ask about how the former president's condition might affect his behavior.
Amen said illnesses like his can lead to unusual behavior.
"It can also affect the front part of your brain -- things like judgment, forethought, impulse control and people who have never acted badly or inappropriately their whole life, all of the sudden they start to do things that are out of character," Amen said.
He added that it is noteworthy that the incidents allegedly happened late in his life.
However, Grolnick said she doesn't think that excuses Bush's behavior.
"No, I don't think that excuses it, and I don't think that explains it," she said. "I think in order for us to have progress and for women to reach the true equality we deserve to have, we need to stop making excuses and letting that be OK."