- Tom Pennington/Getty Images
- Rosalyn Corrigan says former President George H. W. Bush groped her during a 2003 photo op when she was 16 years old.
- Corrigan is the sixth woman who has accused Bush since October 24 of groping them as they posed for photos with him.
- Bush’s spokesperson said the former president has “patted women’s rears” in a “good-natured manner.”
A sixth woman has come forward to say that former President George H. W. Bush groped her during a photo op.
Rosalyn Corrigan met Bush in 2003 when she was 16 years old at a gathering of CIA officers with her mother and father, who was an intelligence officer. Corrigan told Time that the president, then 79, grabbed her from behind as she posed for a photo with him and her mother.
“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. “I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, what just happened?'”
Corrigan said she reacted with “absolute horror” but didn’t say anything to Bush.
“What does a teenager say to the ex-president of the United States?” she asked. “Like, ‘Hey dude, you shouldn’t have touched me like that?'”
But Corrigan did tell her mother about the incident, and later told other friends and acquaintances about the incident over the years. TIME spoke with seven people who said Corrigan told them about the incident prior to the recent allegations against the former president.
Corrigan’s mother said she didn’t say anything to Bush in part out of fear of jeopardizing her husband’s job.
The other five women who have accused Bush of nonconsensual touching all said the incidents occurred as they were posing for photos with him. The other accusers include actress Heather Lind, who said Bush “sexually assaulted” her while they were posing for photos in 2014.
“He didn’t shake my hand. He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side,” Lind wrote in an Instagram post. “He told me a dirty joke. And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again.”
Bush’s spokesperson has said the former president has ‘patted women’s rears’ in a ‘good-natured manner’
Bush’s spokesperson, Jim McGrath, previously said that because Bush is confined to a wheelchair, his hands fall at the waists of those with whom he takes photos and that he “has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner.”
“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,” McGrath told Time in response to Corrigan’s allegations.
But Corrigan said that when Bush groped her, they were both standing.
“When I heard that was the reason, like, ‘Oh, he’s just an old man and he doesn’t know any better and he’s just being harmless and playful and it’s just where his arm falls’… I just burst into uncontrollable sobbing,” Corrigan said. “I just couldn’t sit with that. I can’t. I cannot sit with that. I can’t sleep anymore, because that’s not true, and it’s not an excuse.”