Yet another woman has come forward to accuse George H.W. Bush of groping her buttocks in a photo op. But this one is different: the girl was sixteen years old at the time. Fake News Time Magazine reports:
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 reaction 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?’”
This is the sixth such allegation against Bush. But the girl’s young age makes this one more shocking than the others. Sixteen years old is one year younger than my daughter. What’s more, the previous “wheelchair excuse” Bush has used to defend against most of the other groping allegations doesn’t fly this 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.
One other alleged victim says she was groped by a standing H.W., in 2006.
Let’s be clear: this is not on the level of getting a hummer in the Oval Office, or using an intern as a humidor. If Democrats are going to fly into a rage about this, let them finally disavow Bill Clinton once and for all. His misdeeds were far worse, and were carried out while he was President, and he lied under oath and tried to intimidate witnesses over it. Yet he has been a welcome and favored speaker at Democrat events for ages, and was wildly cheered at the 2012 Democrat convention.
That said, just don’t touch women on the buttocks without their consent. This is not hard. What’s more, this was more than a grandfatherly pat on the rear. Corrigan describes it as a “nice, ripe squeeze.” That is disgusting.
While less serious than the Roy Moore allegations, the story bears some similarities to the Moore story. It’s an old allegation (here 14 years old instead of 38, but still old). There is no video proof and no admission. It’s one person’s word against that of another (or would be if Bush were denying it, which he doesn’t really seem to be doing). The word of the accuser is supported by several witnesses who say she told the story in the past, and by several other accusers whose stories describe similar (if arguably slightly less indefensible) behavior, establishing a pattern into which this story fits.
There are dissimilarities as well, of course — the most glaring of which is that George H.W. Bush is not currently running for any office. So his accuser here will face far less scrutiny (and scrutiny is appropriate) and smearing (inappropriate) than Moore’s accusers have faced. But many of the same arguments apply: why in the world would someone wait to come forward? and also let’s pick apart her life and repeat badly sourced rumors about her!
I’ve always liked H.W., but this is gross. The story is totally believable. In the post-Weinstein era, old accusations are more likely than ever to pop up. Some might be phony. Most probably aren’t. You have to look at each one on its merits, evaluate the accuser for bias, look for corroboration in the form of contemporaneous statements, other behavior, and the reaction of the accused, among other things. Looking at those factors, I believe the stories about H.W., and I tend to believe the ones about Moore as well.
Ultimately, for 98% of people, their reaction to this story (and the Roy Moore stories) revolves entirely around the letter that appears (or used to appear) after the person’s name: R or D? Nothing else really matters.