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George H.W. Bush apologizes amid sexual assault allegation

By Daniel Uria
George H.W. Bush apologizes amid sexual assault allegation
Former president George H.W. Bush responded to allegations by actress Heather Lind that he touched her inappropriately and told her a dirty joke during a photo op four years ago. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Former president George H.W. Bush responded Wednesday after actress Heather Lind said he sexually assaulted her during a photo op four years ago.

Lind said Bush touched her from behind twice while he was sitting in his wheelchair and told her an inappropriate joke while they posed for a photo to promote a television show she had worked on.

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Bush's spokesman, Jim McGrath, issued a response about the allegation on Wednesday.

"President Bush would never -- under any circumstance -- intentionally cause anyone distress, and he most sincerely apologizes if his attempt at humor offended Ms. Lind," he said.

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Lind shared the story in an Instagram post, which has since been deleted, after she saw a photo of of Bush shaking hands with Barack Obama during a gathering of ex-presidents to raise funds for hurricane relief.

She added the photo disturbed her "because I recognize the respect ex-presidents are given for having served and I feel pride and reverence toward many of the men in the photo."

"But when I got the chance to meet George H.W. Bush four years ago to promote a historical television show I was working on, he sexually assaulted me while I was posing for a similar photo," she said. "He didn't shake my hand. He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side. He told me a dirty joke. And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again."

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Lind said Bush's wife, Barbara Bush, witnessed his behavior and a security guard later told her she shouldn't have stood next to him for the photo.

"I am grateful for the bravery of other women who have spoken up and written about their experiences," she said. "And I thank President Barack Obama for the gesture of respect he made toward George H.W. Bush for the sake of our country, but I do not respect him."

Lind added that her fellow cast members and producers were made aware of the encounter and helped support her afterward.

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