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Third woman accuses George H.W. Bush of groping her

Former President George H.W. Bush, seated, waves as fellow former Presidents Bill Clinton, right, George W. Bush, and Jim Carter begin to walk off stage during a hurricanes relief concert in College Station, Texas.Associated Press/LM Otero

A third woman has accused former President George H.W. Bush of groping her, writing about the alleged experience in a first-person article published on Slate’s website Thursday night.

Christina Baker Kline, an author, wrote that she was invited to Houston in 2014 as a guest author for a fundraiser for the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. When she and her husband posed with the former president for a photo, he allegedly put his arm around her, low on her back.

“‘You wanna know my favorite book?’ he whispered. I had to lean close to hear him,” Kline wrote. “‘Yes, what is it?’ By now the photographer was readying the shot. My husband stood on one side of the wheelchair, and I stood on the other. President Bush put his arm around me, low on my back.”


“His comic timing was impeccable,” she continued. “‘David Cop-a-feel,’ he said, and squeezed my butt, hard, just as the photographer snapped the photo. Instinctively, I swiped his hand away.”

Slate said they reached out to Bush spokesman Jim McGrath for a comment, but he referred them to a statement he made in response to earlier allegations. Two actresses, Heather Lind and Jordana Grolnick, have also accused the former president this week of inappropriate touching.

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


Kline wrote that she waited years to come forward with her story for two reasons. First, most women have experienced this before, and the only thing that made it unusual was that an ex-president had allegedly copped a feel. Second, she didn’t want to face the scrutiny.

“I also didn’t want to seem opportunistic, as if I was reporting the former president’s transgression for publicity purposes. (Although, ugh, who wants this kind of publicity?),” she wrote. “I didn’t want to collaterally damage the reputation of the literacy foundation, which does wonderful work.”

What alarmed Kline most, she wrote, is that even at an event where she was being honored, Bush made her feel as though she could be “objectified, sexualized, reduced to a body part,” she asserts.

“I wasn’t traumatized. I’m not angry,” she wrote. “But it shouldn’t have happened. I hope all these stories that women are finally sharing about their experiences will begin to effect change.”

Felicia Gans can be reached at felicia.gans@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.