“My initial reaction was absolute horror. I was really, really confused,” Corrigan told Time. “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 said.
A spokesman for Bush, Jim McGrath, did not deny the allegations.
He told The Washington Post in a statement that the former president “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.”
Corrigan is the sixth woman to make similar accusations against Bush in recent weeks. The others were adults at the times they were allegedly groped.
Three of the women — actresses Heather Lind and Jordana Grolnick and novelist Christina Baker Kline — said they were groped by Bush within the past four years. Bush’s spokesman said in response that Bush, 93, has used a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm “falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures.”
“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,” McGrath previously said. “Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate.”
At the time of the CIA event in November 2003, Bush was 79, and did not use a wheelchair. He stood upright in his photograph with Corrigan and her mother, Sari Young.
Having seen Bush speak at a conference held at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University earlier that month, Corrigan asked her father if she could leave school early to see Bush speak at the CIA event. Corrigan attended the Woodlands High School at the time, Time reported.
After Bush’s address, Corrigan and her mother took a photograph with Bush.
“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.
Corrigan told her mother about the incident as soon as Bush stepped away. She said she was upset, and that “had it been just some Joe Blow or something” she would “chase him down and yell at him.”
“But, you know, it’s the president. What are you supposed to do?” she told Time. “And you’ve got your husband’s job that could be in jeopardy.”
Lind, Grolnick and Kline all said last month that they were groped by Bush while taking photos with him at events. In the cases of Grolnick and Kline, Bush told a joke about “David Cop-a-feel” being his favorite magician and book before allegedly groping their behinds.
Lind and Grolnick said former first lady Barbara Bush saw the incidents. Kline said a friend of the Bush family later asked the best-selling author to be “discreet” about the incident.
On Nov. 1, Laura Bush, the wife of George W. Bush, told CNN that the alleged incidents against her father-in-law were innocent.
“I’m just sad that we’ve come to this,” Laura Bush said. “That was something that was very, very innocent that he’s been accused of. But I know he would feel terrible.”
Corrigan told Time that the incident made her feel like she was not taken seriously.
“I thought, he’s a career politician … if anybody’s going to take me a little bit seriously or at least try to pretend he’s interested in what I have to say, it would be this guy,” she said. “And he didn’t. All he did was grab my butt.”
Since October, dozens of actresses have gone public with allegations that Hollywood producer and former studio executive Harvey Weinstein either sexually harassed or assaulted them, and at least 20 high-profile men in Hollywood, the media and the political sphere have also been accused. In the fallout of claims ranging from sexual misconduct to rape, some have resigned and others have been fired.
Millions of women and men have since taken to social media, using the hashtag #MeToo as they post their stories of sexual harassment or assault.
Last week, The Post published an extensive report detailing the experience of Leigh Corfman, who said Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama initiated a sexual encounter with her in 1979, when she was 14 years old. Three other women, all on the record, have said that Moore pursued them when they were between 16 and 18 years old. Another woman came forward Monday, saying Moore sexually assaulted her in the 1970s when she was 16.