HOUSTON – President George H.W. Bush’s office has responded to an accusation of sexual assault made by an actress.
George H.W. Bush's office released the following statement Wednesday evening:
"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. 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. "
NEW: George H.W. Bush's office releases statement on allegations- "To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely." pic.twitter.com/r2cgk2PsLE— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) October 25, 2017
The incident allegedly occurred in 2014 during a photo op after a movie screening in Houston.
On her Instagram page, in a post that has since been deleted, Heather Lind accused Bush of touching her from behind while she was posing alongside him and telling her a dirty joke.
She met Bush during a promotional tour for her AMC series "TURN: Washington's Spies."
Lind appeared alongside Bush, now 93, who's seated in a wheelchair.
Bush spokesman Jim McGrath tells The Associated Press in a statement: "President Bush would never - under any circumstance - intentionally cause anyone distress, and he most sincerely apologizes if his attempt at humor offended Ms. Lind."
Lind’s Instagram post came as many people turned to social media using the hashtag #MeToo to share their stories of being victims of sexual harassment and assault.
Many people lashed out at Lind overnight, and by Wednesday morning her post about Bush was no longer on her Instagram.
The post read, in part:
“I found it disturbing 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. 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.
Lind wrote, “Barbara rolled her eyes as if to say ‘not again’. His security guard told me I shouldn’t have stood next to him for the photo. We were instructed to call him Mr. President. It seems to me a President’s power is in his or her capacity to enact positive change, actually help people, and serve as a symbol of our democracy.”
“What comforts me is that I too can use my power, which isn’t so different from a President really. I can enact positive change. I can actually help people. I can be a symbol of my democracy. I can refuse to call him President, and call out other abuses of power when I see them. I can vote for a President, in part, by the nature of his or her character, knowing that his or her political decisions must necessarily stem from that character.”
Lind added that her cast mates knew about the alleged assault because she told them, People reported.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)