A sixth woman is accusing former President George H. W. Bush of groping her — and this time, the accuser was only 16 years old at the time of the alleged incident.
"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?’" Roslyn Corrigan told Time.
Corrigan claimed that the incident occurred in 2003, when she joined her father at a meeting of other intelligence officers and their families at the Central Intelligence Agency office in The Woodlands, Texas. Corrigan was only 16 at the time of the alleged incident, while Bush was 79.
"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. I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, what just happened?'" Corrigan told Time. Corrigan's mother and high school friend later confirmed that she had discussed the incident with them shortly after it happened, and many other people confirmed that she had told them the story on other occasions in subsequent years.
In addition to the fact that Corrigan was a minor and Bush's five other accusers were adults, the alleged incident is also notable because of how it undermines one of the early excuses used by the Bush camp.
"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," Bush's office said in a statement, after accusations began to leak out in October.
The statement added, "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.”
Bush's other accusers have included a former Republican Maine state Senate candidate, two actresses, a novelist and a journalist. The former president's daughter-in-law, former First Lady Laura Bush, has defended her father-in-law by describing the incident as "very, very innocent" and claiming she was "just sad we’ve come to this."