WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- A third woman has accused former U.S. President George H.W. Bush of sexual harassment, claiming the currently 93-year-old told her a "David Cop-a-feel" joke and groped her.
In an article released in Slate late Thursday, novelist Christina Baker Kline said the incident occurred during a photo op at an event in April 2016.
According to Kline, it was her first time to meet the former president, who was in a wheelchair and she "had to lean close to hear" his response. Just as the photographer snapped the photo, the former president "squeezed my butt, hard."
Kline said that both her husband and former first lady Barbara Bush were present at the photo op. A friend of the Bush family, she said, later asked her to be "discreet" about the incident.
Two other women, actresses Heather Lind and Jordana Grolnick, came forward earlier this week to claim that they were groped by the 41st president while taking photos with him at separate events. The two also said Barbara Bush saw the incidents.
In response to Kline, Bush family spokesperson Jim McGrath pointed Slate to a prior statement he released on Wednesday shortly after Lind made accusation.
"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," the statement read.
"Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely," said the statement.
On Thursday, McGrath told The Washington Post that Barbara Bush had no comment about the allegations from Lind and Grolnick.
The accusations against the 41st U.S. president follows the wave of recent public sexual harassment and assault allegations against film executive Harvey Weinstein, director James Toback and others.
Millions of Americans have since taken to Facebook and Twitter, using #MeToo as they post their own experiences with sexual abuse.