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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

George Bush Sr apologises after actress makes sexual assault claim

Heather Lind claimed on Instagram that the former US president had groped her from his wheelchair

The office of George HW Bush has apologised after actress Heather Lind accused the former president of touching her from behind while she was posing for a photo alongside him and telling her a dirty joke at a Houston event in 2014. AP
The office of George HW Bush has apologised after actress Heather Lind accused the former president of touching her from behind while she was posing for a photo alongside him and telling her a dirty joke at a Houston event in 2014. AP

Former US president George H W Bush has issued an apology after an actress claimed he sexually assaulted her.

Heather Lind alleged on social media that Mr Bush, who served as 41st President of the US, had "touched me from behind from his wheelchair", while posing for a photo at an event in 2014.

In a now-deleted post to image sharing site Instagram, Ms Lind, who is best known for starring as Anna Strong in the AMC series Turn: Washington’s Spies, said that Mr Bush had told her a dirty joke and groped her while his wife Barbara stood by his side.

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Ms Lind added: "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."

A spokesman for the 93-year-old former president said: "President Bush would never - under any circumstance - intentionally cause anyone distress, and he most sincerely apologises if his attempt at humour offended Ms Lind."

The 34-year-old said she had been compelled to come forward after seeing a photo of former president Barack Obama shaking Mr Bush’s hand at a fundraiser, which took place last week.

Mr Bush, who is the father of former president George W Bush, served for one term as leader of the US between 1989 and 1993.

Ms Lind used the hashtag #metoo, which has been used by women globally to share their experiences of sexual harassment after the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault claims were revealed.

The Boardwalk Empire actress said she had been empowered by the bravery of women who had come forward.

"What comforts me is that I too can use my power, which isn't so different from a president really," she said.

"I am grateful for the bravery of other women who have spoken up and written about their experiences."