George H.W. Bush -- Accusers now total five over sexual harassment allegations
George H.W. Bush -- Accusers now total five over sexual harassment allegations

Five women have come forward now and alleged that former President George H.W. Bush groped them, with all reporting largely similar accounts of the harassment.

Each of the woman claims that H.W. Bush inappropriately touched them when posing with them for photographs, often telling them a joke and groping them as part of the punchline.

The women include actresses Heather Lind and Jordana Grolnick; Pennsylvania journalist Liz Allen; best-selling author Christina Baker Kline and former Maine Senate candidate Amanda Staples, the Portland Press Herald reported.

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New York actress Jordana Grolnick told Deadspin about an alleged incident in August 2016 involving Bush that mirrors reports by the other accusers.

At the time, Grolnick was working on a production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” at a Maine theater she declined to name. When Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush came backstage to greet the cast, they posed for a group photograph.

“We all circled around him and Barbara for a photo, and I was right next to him,” Grolnick said.

“He reached his right hand around to my behind, and as we smiled for the photo he asked the group, ‘Do you want to know who my favorite magician is?’ As I felt his hand dig into my flesh, he said, ‘David Cop-a-Feel!’”

Grolnick claims that Barbara Bush responded with “something along the lines of, ‘He’s going to get himself put into jail!’”

Grolnick was the second woman to accuse Bush of groping her, after actress Heather Lind made the initial accusation.

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Following Grolnick’s claim, Bush’s office released a statement of apology on his behalf.

“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,” the statement read. “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,” the statement read. “To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.”

Yet, Staples alleged that Bush groped her in 2006 prior to his being confined to a wheelchair.

In a post on Instagram, Staples, a former Republican state Senate candidate from Standish, Maine, wrote that during her campaign, she visited Bush at Walker’s Point when he “grabbed my butt and joked saying ‘Oh, I’m not THAT President.’” The post included a picture of her standing next to Bush.

Author Christina Baker Kline alleged that she was groped by Bush in 2014 when she posed for a photo with him at a Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy fundraiser, as reported by NJ.com.

Kline took issue with the response issued by Bush’s office regarding other women’s allegations.

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“When those two women came forward and the Bush response was that he was trying to put people at ease because of this joke, or that that was where his hands fell (from his wheelchair level), I knew because of what had happened to me, with exactly the same line, that this was such a distortion of what actually happened and was such a callous refutation of their testimony that I ultimately felt I had to say something,” she said.

“If we want to try to change the dominant culture, this feels like a moment for people to step forward and say, ‘We’re not OK with this anymore.’”

During Bush’s term as president in 1992, it was reported that a former U.S. ambassador had arranged for a sexual tryst between Bush and one of his female staffers in Geneva in 1994.

However, when asked about the allegations at a news conference, he had responded that he would “take any sleazy questions like that from CNN,” and he was “disappointed” in the reporter who asked it.

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“In this kind of screwy climate that we’re in, why, I expect it, but I don’t like it and I’m not going to respond other than to say it’s a lie.”

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