George H.W. Bush accused of assaulting a 16-year-old girl in 2003

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It’s easy to lose track of all of the accusations of sexual harassment and assault that have come out in the past two and a half months. You say to yourself “I need a break” and you go offline for a day and when you come back, there are like a dozen more people you need to cancel. The stories have been coming in such a steady stream that I don’t actually blame people for A) needing a break and B) forgetting about some of the accusations. So here’s a refresher: last month, several women came forward with their stories about George HW Bush groping them from his wheelchair. Literally all the stories were about Bush in his post-presidency, in declining health, and using the same “David Cop-a-Feel” joke as he assaults the women standing closest to him. Well now, in the wake of the Roy Moore stuff, a woman has come forward to say that George HW Bush groped/assaulted her when she was just 16 years old. You can read her full story here at People Magazine.

Roslyn Corrigan was sixteen years old when she got a chance to meet George H.W. Bush, excited to be introduced to a former president having grown up dreaming of going into politics. But Corrigan was crushed by her encounter: Bush, then 79 years old, groped her buttocks at a November 2003 event in The Woodlands, Texas, office of the Central Intelligence Agency where Corrigan’s father gathered with fellow intelligence officers and family members to meet Bush, Corrigan said. Corrigan is the sixth woman since Oct. 24 to accuse Bush publicly of grabbing her buttocks without consent.

“My initial action was absolute horror. I was really, really confused,” Corrigan told TIME, speaking publicly for the first time about the encounter. “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?’”

Corrigan said the incident happened while she was being photographed standing next to Bush. Five other women have made similar claims against Bush in recent weeks. Seven people, including family members and friends, confirmed to TIME that they had been told about alleged groping by Bush of Corrigan prior to the other recent allegations.

“George Bush simply does not have it in his heart to knowingly cause anyone harm or distress, and he again apologizes to anyone he may have offended during a photo op,” Bush spokesperson Jim McGrath said in a statement to TIME. Previously, McGrath said Bush “has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner,” additionally attributing the act to his diminished height after being confined to a wheelchair since 2012. Bush was standing upright in 2003 when he met Corrigan.

Corrigan said that to this day, some of the responses she gets to her story are dismissive but she said she feels emboldened to speak out after seeing other women come forward, and hopes more will do so after hearing her account.

“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,” she said. “I was a child.”

[From People]

I believe you, Roslyn Corrigan. Roslyn told her mother just moments after it happened, and Roslyn told friends about it at the time too. It seemed like so many of Bush’s victims were just stuck, paralyzed by the oddity and discomfort of the situation that they didn’t know what to do or say. How do you tell an ex-president that they need to keep their hands to themselves? How do you do that when you’re 16 years old and your dad works at the CIA? (Also: the CIA keeps an office in Texas???)

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30 Responses to “George H.W. Bush accused of assaulting a 16-year-old girl in 2003”

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  1. Cannibell says:

    {eyeroll} Best defense ever for ass-grabbing: But it was “good-natured!”

    • Ankhel says:

      No, that would be “he meant to pat their backs, but could only reach their butts, being in a wheel chair and all…” 😑

  2. Nicole says:

    So we can throw the GOP away now too right? Not that I haven’t wanted to throw that lot into the garbage just for the last year alone

  3. Snowflake says:

    I think many times women freeze because you don’t know what to do.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      Definitely but in this case … I mean there’s Secret Service present, it’s your dad’s job … good Lord. I don’t want to judge which situations are worse than others but my god, if THIS isn’t the absolute worst in terms of being powerless. At 16.

  4. Talie says:

    And he wasn’t in a wheel chair this time so…the whole senile old man act is BS.

    • Rapunzel says:

      No wheelchair, but 79 is old enough to be a senile old man. Just saying.

      I’m disgusted by HW Bush’s behavior, but these stories do involve him being OLD. Is cognitive decline involved? Probably not, but I do wonder. Not that it’s an excuse, just curious.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        Woman coming forward with story from the 80s in 3 … 2 …. 1 … At this point I’m over ANY explanation. I’ve had family members with dementia. You don’t put them in situations like this then. And in my experience, if it’s just old age, the personality traits intensify. People lose their filters. But they don’t change personality.

      • lightpurple says:

        And yet the family has done absolutely nothing to prevent it and families usually do try to prevent such behaviors when an elder is in decline.

      • Juls says:

        Is it possible that he only started doing this once he was old and possibly senile? Yes. Is it possible that he has been this disgusting his entire life? Probably.

      • robyn says:

        I have trouble believing, at nearly eighty, this wasn’t more about senility but I could be wrong of course. For some reason I have difficulty in thinking Bush has evil intent while I can easily imagine Moore having evil intent at a much larger scale. I believe the last woman who came out about Moore but am baffled as to why she would have voted for Trump after hearing him speak on the tape, especially after what she’d been through personally. It seems our political views do influence our beliefs in the goodness, or not, of a person running for office.

      • Mermaid says:

        It’s not an excuse. But you may be on to something with cognitive decline. Were any allegations made when he was younger? People’s mental facilities do decline as we age. This family has the resources to employ caregivers who can prevent this type of thing from happening again.

      • Jess says:

        There were rumors in DC while he was president that he had a mistress but that was pre-Clinton so it was always pretty quiet. And I’ve heard a story from someone close to the family about him being the “dirty old man” with young women even in the late 90s, before he was touring the globe with Clinton on his son’s behalf, so I have a hard time buying any dementia story. And out of all of the HW Bush stories, this one makes me the saddest. Instead of the former president telling you that you could be a future leader, he taught this teenage girl that all she is to him is an object for his gratification. So tragic.

      • Chloeee says:

        I was just thinking that. If Parkinson’s/Alzheimer’s or any cognitive decline is involved he’s likely suffering a common side effect which is loss of social cues and loss of gauging appropriate responses. Not an excuse but definitely a factor.

      • tealily says:

        If that’s the case, they need to address it. Whatever’s going on, they need to address it and prevent it from happening again.

  5. serena says:

    How in the world is patting a women’s butt an intended good natured gesture?

  6. AnnaKist says:

    God. I feel sick. Again. Every story Iike this I hear conjures up memories I do not want to deal with. Excuse me while I vomit.

  7. Katherine says:

    I don’t need a break, I feel vindicated, all this time people telling me to not stand up for myself, to not be “weird”, to be “more friendly to boys”, stop being such an “uncompromising person” – yeah, now, who’s been absolutely profoundly right this whole time?

    • HoustonGrl says:

      I agree that, at least for me being a 33 year-old woman, i feel like I came of age during a very confusing era where you could either be a “prude” or a “slut.” I was often told to be friendlier, warmer, more polite, more laid-back, to lighten up, get a “sense of humor”, don’t be argumentative, don’t cause conflict, always be nice etc. etc. The list goes on. I can only think of how destructive those messages are now. If I have a daughter, I will try not to raise her to be a spineless people pleaser.

  8. mkyarwood says:

    TBH, I never thought I’d see the day when this man’s crimes were finally public.

  9. Sabrine says:

    He had to be content with the opportunities he had with young girls, covert fondling at a photo op. I wonder how many of these gropers would take total advantage of a young girl if they knew they wouldn’t be prosecuted and could get away with it. I would say all of them, including this one.

  10. ncboudicca says:

    God, this just depresses me so much.

  11. Poxies says:

    His name came up in the pedo-ring allegations in the Johnny Gosch case….

    • Holly Wouldn't says:

      I was gonna say, if one’s gotten away with anything and everything being in the CIA, of course they’d think nothing of grabbing some young woman’s butt…

  12. Deeana says:

    I believe the girl. I think he’s been doing this for a long time.

    Why else would that be his favorite joke?