Roslyn Corrigan has accused George H.W. Bush of groping 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.
She 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, 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.”
Corrigan, who had heard Bush give a speech at a conference held at the George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University earlier in November 2003, asked her father, Steve A. Young, if she could leave early from her classes at The Woodlands High School and join him at the planned visit by Bush. After Bush addressed the CIA gathering, which included agency personnel and their family members, Corrigan had the opportunity to take a photograph with Bush, alongside her mother, Sari Young.