US military reports major spike in sex assaults

Pentagon officials commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month in March 2015Pentagon officials commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month in March 2015

The US military has reported a major spike in sexual assaults despite years of efforts to address the problem.

Figures show 20,500 instances of unwanted sexual contact occurred in 2018, up from 14,900 in 2016 which is the last time a survey was conducted.

Alcohol was involved in one third of cases, and female recruits ages 17 to 24 are at the highest risk of attack.

On Thursday, Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan directed the military to “criminalise” sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment can fall within other legal violations of military behaviour, but is not yet a “stand-alone” criminal offence.

The directive from Mr Shanahan was among a series of other recommendations, released in a memo on Thursday.

“Sexual assault is illegal and immoral, is inconsistent with the military’s mission and will not be tolerated,” he wrote.

In the US, sexual harassment is illegal, considered a form of sexual discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which also covers discrimination based on race, skin colour, religion and national origin.

What does the report show?

The report released on Thursday surveyed the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, and estimated a total of 20,500 cases in 2018.

The total figure is based reports of attacks as well as an extrapolation of survey data which was gathered through a poll of over 100,000 troops. Researchers say the survey has a 95% level of confidence.

Incidents of unwanted sexual contact – which ranges from groping to rape – rose by around 38% between 2016 and 2018.

Only one out of three cases were reported to authorities, the report found.

In 2006, only one in 14 victims reported sexual assault crimes, the Pentagon said.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the Marines acknowledged they had “historically viewed an increase in reporting as an indicator Marines feel more empowered to report more confident in the care victims receive”.

“However, with the number of estimated assaults rising, especially among our young Marines, the Marine Corps must evolve its prevention methods and continue to foster a climate and culture of dignity, respect and trust,” the statement said.

In more than 85% of cases, victims knew their attacker. The majority of cases involved young women whose attacker was often a superior officer.

The report should be “a trip wire”, said Nate Galbreath, Deputy Director of the Department’ of Defense’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office.

“This is what tells us that there’s something going on that we need to hone in on,” he told ABC News.

“We’ve got a higher prevalence for women 17 to 24. We’re going to be focusing very, very tightly on that.”

What is the reaction?

Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee’s personnel panel, told the USA Today newspaper that the military “must accept that current programmes are simply not working”.

“Congress must lead the way in forcing the department to take more aggressive approaches to fighting this scourge,” she said, calling for intervention from US lawmakers.

On Thursday, Mr Shanahan revealed some of the recommendations made by the Sexual Assault Accountability and Investigation Task Force, which was created last month after the urging of Senator Martha McSally.

Senator Martha McSally: “I was ashamed and confused”

Senator McSally, who was the first female US fighter pilot to fly in combat, revealed in March that she had been raped by a superior officer while serving in the Air Force.

In response to the report, Mr Shanahan directed the US Department of Defence “criminalise” sexual harassment “to combat this scourge”.

He detailed prevention, accountability and support efforts in order to “eliminate” sexual assault, including new methods of identifying repeat offenders.

“We must, and will, do better,” he wrote in the memo.

It is unclear if he would need congressional approval to make changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice – the US military’s legal code, to make the offence a “stand-alone crime”.

In his memo, Mr Shanahan also announced plans to train commanders in a new programme to uncover serial sex offenders.

“To put it bluntly, we are not performing to the standards and expectations we have for ourselves or for each other,” Mr Shanahan said.

“This is unacceptable. We cannot shrink from facing the challenge head on.”

In a series of tweets, Gen Robert B. Neller, the highest ranking officer in the US Marine Corps, joined in condemning the behaviour captured by the study.

According to the report, compared with the Navy, Army, Air force and Coast guard, the Marines had the highest rates of sexual assault throughout the US Armed Forces – sitting at 11%.

“Marines know that sexual assault is a crime,” Gen Neller wrote. “We are better than this.”

Democratic Senator and 2020 presidential contender Kirsten Gillibrand also responded on Twitter, calling on Congress to take action where the defence department has “repeatedly failed”.

Sen Gillibrand has been an outspoken advocate of victims of sexual assault and has pressed for legislation to make it easier to prosecute sexual violence in the military.

In her tweets, she cited a 2013 statement from the chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – the highest US military post – that called sexual assault in the military a “crisis”.

Joe Biden scrambles to tamp down Anita Hill controversy

Collage photograph shows Joe Biden and Anita HillThe law professor says Biden needs to apologise to other women and the public

Top White House candidate Joe Biden has denied treating a woman badly when she accused a Supreme Court nominee of harassment before Congress in 1991.

Anita Hill had testified against Clarence Thomas to a committee chaired by Mr Biden. His handling of her evidence has long been criticised.

Speaking on ABC’s the View on Friday, Mr Biden also said that he was “sorry for the way she got treated”.

Ms Hill on Thursday told the New York Times she would not endorse Mr Biden.

The former US vice-president under Barack Obama tried to tamp down the controversy a day after formally launching his White House bid.

Mr Biden has shot to the tip of a crowded field of 20 contenders who are vying to become the Democratic standard-bearer in next year’s election against Republican President Donald Trump.

What’s the Anita Hill row?

Ms Hill said that Mr Biden had called her before announcing his presidential bid and expressed his “regret for what she endured” during the hearing.

But she said that apology was not enough without “real change”.

“I cannot be satisfied by simply saying, ‘I’m sorry for what happened to you,'” Ms Hill, a law professor, told the newspaper.

She added that she could not support Mr Biden unless he showed “real accountability” for his handling of her testimony before Congress in 1991.

During his Friday appearance on The View, Mr Biden – who raised a whopping $6.3m (£4.8m) on the first day of his campaign – was asked about offering a personal apology to Ms Hill.

“I’m sorry for the way she got treated,” Mr Biden responded.

“If you go back and look at what I said or didn’t say, I don’t think I treated her badly.”

In 1991, Ms Hill was called to testify at Mr Thomas’ confirmation hearing after an FBI interview with her was leaked to the press.

The hearing was conducted by an all-white, all-male panel, and several women apparently willing to corroborate Ms Hill’s account were not called to testify by Mr Biden.

Both Ms Hill and Justice Thomas are African-American.

Mr Biden voted to send Justice Thomas’ nomination out of the committee to the Senate floor, then voted against him in the full confirmation vote.

Decades on, the event is considered a political embarrassment for Mr Biden, who remains a favourite to secure the Democratic nomination.

Earlier this month, the former vice-president pledged to be “more mindful” about physical contact with women after seven women accused him of unwelcome physical contact.

Anita Hill testifying in 1991Clarence Thomas was Anita Hill’s supervisor

What about Charlottesville?

Mr Biden has also been reproached by the mother of an anti-racism protester who was killed during a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017.

Susan Bro told the Daily Beast the presidential hopeful had not notified her that he planned to invoke Heather Heyer’s death during his campaign launch video on Thursday.

“Most people do that sort of thing,” she told the Daily Beast. “They capitalise on whatever situation is handy.

“He didn’t reach out to me, and didn’t mention her by name specifically, and he probably knew we don’t endorse candidates.”

In a later interview with CNN, Ms Bro softened her tone, saying she was not particularly upset because “the issue is about the hate, it’s not about Heather”.

Ms Bro added that she had told Mr Biden his video could have traumatised for some Charlottesville survivors.

Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton accused of sexually assaulting reporter

NBA coach Luke Walton

Luke Walton is accused of sexual assault during his time as assistant coach at the Golden State Warriors

A National Basketball Association (NBA) coach is being sued for the alleged sexual assault of a sports reporter, US media report.

In the lawsuit, obtained by TMZ and ESPN, Kelli Tennant alleges Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton forced himself on her in a California hotel room.

At the time he was assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors, another California NBA team, says the lawsuit.

In a statement, Mr Walton’s lawyer called the accusations “baseless”.

According to legal documents obtained by US media, Ms Tennant met Mr Walton in his suite at the Hotel Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica to give him a copy of her 2014 book.

Sports reporter Kelli Tennant
Kelli Tennant worked as a broadcaster on Spectrum SportsNet at the time of the alleged incident

Mr Walton had written the foreword to the publication, The Transition: Every Athlete’s Guide to Life After Sports.

No specific date for the alleged incident was stated in the lawsuit, according to US media.

The two had reportedly had a working relationship, stemming from Mr Walton’s time as a guest on Spectrum SportsNet, a US regional cable sports channel where Ms Tennant used to work.

She also knew Mr Walton’s wife, according to US media.

The legal action says Ms Tennant had viewed Mr Walton as a “trusted mentor and colleague”, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Kelli Tennant's Instagram page
A photo from Ms Tennant’s Instagram page, which has been flooded with comments following the suit

Upon Ms Tennant’s arrival at the hotel, the lawsuit reportedly says, Mr Walton invited her to his room, ostensibly so they would not be seen by any Golden State Warriors players.

Once inside the suite, the legal action says that Mr Walton “pinned Ms Tennant on the bed, placing his hips and legs over her body”, before groping her chest and groin, according to US media who have reviewed the court documents.

“She was afraid she was about to be raped,” the legal action reportedly says.

According to US media, Mr Walton’s lawyer released a statement categorically denying the allegations.

“The accuser is an opportunist, not a victim, and her claim is not credible,” said Mark Baute.

Mr Walton was hired this month by the Sacramento Kings, after leaving the Los Angeles Lakers, where he had been head coach since 2016.

Mr Walton had previously played 10 seasons for the Lakers, before beginning his NBA coaching career with the Golden State Warriors in 2014.

All three teams responded to the allegations.

The Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors said they were aware of the report and had no further comment.

The Los Angeles Lakers statement said the alleged incident took place before he became their head coach.

“At no time before or during his employment here was this allegation reported to the Lakers,” it said.

“If it had been, we would have immediately commenced an investigation and notified the NBA.”

Since news of the lawsuit broke, Ms Tennant, a former volleyball player for the University of Southern California, had her Instagram page flooded with comments, many of them abusive.

ESPN reports the NBA has launched an investigation of its own into the alleged event.

‘The Maine electorate has had it with her’: Constituents turn on Susan Collins

Senator Susan Collins of Maine spoke to news media at Saint Anselm College in Manchester in September 2018.
Senator Susan Collins of Maine spoke to news media at Saint Anselm College in Manchester in September 2018.

Senator Susan Collins’s reputation for bipartisanship has brought her respect across the aisle over 22 years in Washington, D.C. But these days, the famously temperate 66-year-old senior stateswoman from Maine is inspiring the kind of liberal animus more typically directed at people named Trump.

“Betrayed” is a word that comes up.

“I used to think that she was kind of a voice of reason. I thought she could maybe go across the aisle and get some things done,” said Pam Cunningham, a Boothbay Democrat who voted for Collins last time around.

Collins’s vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has galvanized left-leaning activists like Cunningham, who are actively trying to unseat her in 2020 — and though they don’t yet have a candidate, they have raised nearly $3.8 million.

Early in the Donald Trump era, Collins was eyed optimistically by Democrats as someone who might save their day. But the Supreme Court vote was the latest in a string of positions Collins has taken where, after lengthy, attention-getting deliberations, she sided with the GOP. For some voters, hope in Collins has curdled into vengeance.

“The Maine electorate has had it with her not voting with the majority of her constituents,” said Amy Halsted, co-director of the Maine People’s Alliance, a statewide community organizing group that has about 32,000 members. “They no longer believe her claims to be a moderate.”

At the same time, the political mood in Maine has been volatile. The state supported Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016, and after two terms of the combative conservative Governor Paul LePage, flipped the state government blue in November, handing Democrats the governor’s office, Senate, and House.

Given that backdrop, Democratic organizations were already viewing Collins as vulnerable. Now, they are trying to attach to her blame not only for her own votes, but for those of Kavanaugh.

When he, for instance, dissented on an abortion rights case this month, left-wing political organizations pounced on Collins. Demand Justice, a judicial advocacy group, launched a digital ad targeting Collins and warning, “We Won’t Forget.” The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee panned Kavanaugh’s ruling, calling him “Senator Collins’s Supreme Court Judge.”

Of course, Collins was alternately cheered by the right, which rewarded her mightily for her pivotal support for Kavanaugh. In the three months following the vote, Collins set a career high for quarterly fund-raising, drawing in nearly $1.8 million. The previous quarter, she had raised only $140,000.

“People generally like Susan Collins in Maine. I would never underestimate her,” said Brian Duff, a political scientist and associate professor at University of New England in Maine. “But I do think she’s uniquely vulnerable this go-round.”

Activists have been birddogging Collins since the opening days of the Trump administration, protesting Cabinet appointees and staging sit-ins in her office, said Marie Follayttar, a sculptor who founded Mainers for Accountable Leadership. The Maine People’s Alliance intends to knock on doors to reach hundreds of thousands of voters this year, highlighting Collins’s record and arguing that she is not representing Maine voters’ interests.

In a statement, Collins suggested she is still calling them like she sees them and pointed to a number of votes she has taken against her party — opposing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the nominations of Cabinet appointees Scott Pruitt and Betsy DeVos, for instance.

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“Often these outside groups, on both sides, want 100% fidelity to 100% of their views 100% of the time,” Collins said in a statement. “But I’ve always believed that neither side has a monopoly on good ideas and that in order to craft the best policy, you need to bring both sides to the table to find common ground.”

Collins also said she is accustomed to being in the public eye, “as a centrist who is willing to work across the aisle and who must often cast the deciding vote.”

But she said she is concerned “by the appalling hyperpartisanship that has repeatedly prevented us from getting things done on behalf of the American people.’’

Early on, when Collins bucked the Republican Party and voted to preserve the Affordable Care Act, Mainers gave her a hero’s welcome, literally cheering her return to the Bangor airport. But later she voted for a tax bill that would undo a key part of the health law, the individual mandate.

Then, the signs greeting her at the airport simply said, “Shame.’’

“Collins had given so many Mainers hope that she would protect our health care with her votes against the repeal of the ACA,” said Follayttar.

While Collins had long carefully honed her reputation as a moderate, Duff pointed to recent votes he views as “obviously problematic,” including her support for Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and her vote for a tax cut package that will increase the deficit.

“She has very little chance of explaining that vote in a way that makes sense to Maine voters,” Duff said.

Conversely, he thought she was consistent in her vote for Kavanaugh, which she painstakingly explained it in a 45-minute floor speech in October. “It was articulate, thoughtful, consistent with the way she has spoken and voted through her career,” he said.

That wasn’t the way that Collins’s critics heard her speech, however.

“I have never been so disappointed in anybody in my life,” said Laurie Fear, an addictions counselor and activist who lives in Portland.

That was also an ugly and trying period for Collins, who faced protesters at home and at her offices, whose aides fielded rape and death threats. Her house was visited by a haz-mat team after she received an envelope purporting to contain ricin. Activists sent to her 3,000 coat hangers, symbolizing the tools of back-alley abortions that activists say women would resort to if Kavanaugh helped roll back abortion rights.

Anti-Kavanaugh activists also raised money and pledged to donate it to Collins’s next opponent if she voted to confirm the nomination. She called that tantamount to bribery.

“Anyone who thought I would auction off my vote to the highest bidder obviously doesn’t know me. I made my decision based on the merits of the nomination,” she said. “This effort played no role in my decision-making whatsoever.”

That is heartbreaking to such people as Cunningham — who joined other Maine women to meet Collins in Washington in hopes of persuading her to vote against Kavanaugh.

She opened up to Collins about her own attempted rape, which she had seldom spoken of, in the hopes of explaining why a woman would not immediately report a sexual assault, as was the case with the women who accused Kavanaugh.

“We all thought maybe our stories would get through to her on a personal level, a woman-to-woman kind of thing,” said Cunningham.

Later, Collins sent her a form letter that mentioned that very meeting with survivors of sexual assault as evidence of the thorough deliberations she undertook in making the decision. “She was using my story to try to portray herself in a favorable light,” Cunningham said. “I really don’t think she did take our opinions into consideration.”

Ariel Linet, a disability attorney and Portland constituent who called and visited Collins’s offices trying to urge her to vote against Kavanaugh, said she no longer views Collins as a moderate.

“I don’t think that she’s taken any brave stances against her party,” she said. “I think she’s hemmed and hawed a lot and ultimately always toed the party line.”

https://www.crowdpac.com/campaigns/387413/fund-susan-collins-future-opponent

R Kelly: Singer charged with sexual abuse in Chicago

R Kelly at New York Fashion Week 2016The singer is known for songs such as Ignition and I Believe I Can Fly,

R Kelly has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, at least nine of which involve minors.

The R&B star, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, has faced decades of claims of sexual abuse against women and teenagers below the age of consent.

He has never been convicted and has previously denied other allegations.

An arrest warrant was issued, and the 52-year-old turned himself in to police in Chicago later on Friday. His lawyer says he is “shell-shocked”.

Steve Greenberg told The Associated Press that his client was “extraordinarily disappointed and depressed” by the charges and maintains his innocence.

The indictment come just weeks after a documentary series called Surviving R Kelly aired.

It contained decades of allegations of abuse against R Kelly, from many women, including the singer’s ex-wife.

What are the allegations?

Prosecutors in Cook County announced the aggravated criminal sexual abuse charges, involving four victims, on Friday.

They say they took place between 1998 and 2010. Documents say at least three of the victims were aged between 13 and 16 at the time of their reported assaults.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said he could face a maximum of seven years in prison for each count.

R Kelly arriving in court in 2008Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionKelly was previously acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008

A no-bail arrest warrant has been issued for Kelly.

Mr Greenberg, his lawyer, told AP that he had offered to sit down with prosecutors before the filing to describe “why these charges are baseless” but said they refused.

How did the charges come about?

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx had urged women to come forward after the documentary series aired.

Lawyer Michael Avenatti has said he is representing six people, including two alleged victims, making allegations against Kelly. At least one of the victims is included in Friday’s indictment, he said.

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Fox and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson,Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionCook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced the 10 charges on Friday

Mr Avenatti came forward last week to say he had uncovered and handed over previously unreleased footage showing Kelly engaging in sex with an underage girl to prosecutors.

The lawyer says the 40-minute tape, believed to be shot in 1999, shows him having sexual intercourse and engaging in other sexual and lewd acts with a 14-year-old. He has alleged both Kelly and the girl “repeatedly” reference her age as being 14 in the video.

Kelly was previously acquitted over another video tape of a similar nature in 2008.

US broadcaster CNN has said it has seen the new footage and described it as “clear and explicit”.

The charges come one day after lawyer Gloria Allred said she was representing two new women making fresh allegations against Kelly.

Decades of allegations

Kelly has faced, and denied, accusations about sexual and physical abuse for decades.

In 1994 it was reported he married 15-year-old singer and musical protégé Aaliyah at a secret ceremony in Chicago when he was 27. US media said she had lied about her age on the certificate, and the marriage was later annulled.

In 2002 the star was charged with child pornography in Chicago over footage that appeared to show him engaging in intercourse, oral sex, urination, and other sexual acts with a girl said to be 13 or 14.

The case took six years to go to trial. Both Kelly and the girl alleged to be in the video denied it was them. Eventually the jury acquitted Kelly of all 14 charges against him.

Demonstrators gather near the studio of singer R Kelly to call for a boycott of his music after allegations of sexual abuse against young girls were raised on the highly-rated Lifetime mini-series Surviving R Kelly, in Chicago, Illinois, 9 January 2019People have been calling for a boycott on Kelly’s music with the hashtag #MuteRKelly

In 2017, Kelly was forced to deny allegations that he was holding a number of young women captive in a so-called “abusive cult” after a bombshell report from Buzzfeed News.

He has also been sued privately by a number of women, including some who allege underage sexual relationships and another who says he “intentionally” infected her with a sexually transmitted disease.

The singer has continued to make music throughout the allegations.

There have been calls to boycott Kelly’s music – both recordings and performances – with people using the social media hashtag #MuteRKelly.

Throughout 2018 women continued to come forward publicly alleging abuse.

The singer was the subject of the documentary series Surviving R Kelly earlier this year.

Across six episodes, a catalogue of women accused him of sexual and emotional abuse – including several who said they were underage when sexual relations began.

After the series aired, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx made a plea for victims to come forward and report – saying she was “sickened” by the allegations.

(Too bad that Senator Susan Collins won’t be on his jury.)

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Senator Susan Collins desperately tries to win back her credibility as a progressive. (She isn’t. She voted FOR the emergency declaration in the US Senate.)

Senator Susan Collins, who voted in Favor of Trumps emergency declaration.
Rape apologist and Maine Senator Susan Collins

AUGUSTA, Maine — President Donald Trump’s administration passed a policy Friday that would prevent taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions. It would also prohibit these clinics from being housed in the same location as abortion providers.

Abortion advocates, who have expressed opposition to the policy, say it targets Title X, a family planning program passed by President Richard Nixon in 1970.

Title X serves about 4 million women a year through independent clinics. Many of these clinics are run by Planned Parenthood affiliates, which serve about 1.6 million women. The grant program costs taxpayers around $260 million a year.

Those opposed to abortion – in large part, religious conservatives, who make up a notable portion of Trump’s policy base – have expressed support for the policy, since they say it will help redirect some taxpayer dollars away from funds for abortions.

RELATED: Trump to bar abortion referrals by family planning clinics

Maine legislators sent out statements in response to the policy Friday.

“Every woman should be able to access reproductive health care when and where she needs it,” said Gov. Janet Mills, quoted in a statement release. “The Trump Administration’s gag rule is backward policy that will silence health care providers, withhold vital medical information from patients, and prevent women from getting the basic health care they need.”

Gov. Mills joined states across the country last year in a lawsuit attempting to stop the Trump administration from making these changes to Title X.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins also expressed opposition to the new regulation. Maine’s senior senator has been a long-time proponent for funding of the Title X Family Planning Program.

“I oppose this misguided rule change that could significantly diminish access for women to crucial contraceptive services, which have been critical in reducing the number of abortions in our country over the past three decades,” Sen. Collins said in an emailed statement. “In fact, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and I wrote to the Trump Administration last summer to express our opposition to this proposal.”

Her spokeswoman, Annie Clark, noted that Collins and Murkowski wrote this letter to Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to express concern and ask the Trump administration to reconsider. In the letter, the two women said that the proposed rule may undermine success the country has seen in reducing the abortion numbers by providing timely and convenient access to contraception services.

Clark said Collins will be evaluating potential legislative remedies in the coming weeks.

Abortion is a legal medical procedure, but federal laws prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman.

download (2)Collins backs resolution disapproving emergency declaration to build wall
Collins said the president should go through normal appropriations channels if he thinks he needs more money for border security.

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Senator Susan Collins says she is prepared to vote for a Congressional resolution expressing disapproval of President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency in order to get more money for a border wall.

She is the first Republican senator to make that commitment.

Collins said the president should go through normal appropriations channels if he thinks he needs more money for border security.

Collins said Wednesday morning that a Resolution of Disapproval is expected to pass in the House and then move to the Senate.

And I don’t know what the vote situation will be in the Senate, nor do I know exactly what that resolution will say but it is a privileged matter, which means that it will come before the Senate for a vote. And if it’s a clean disapproval resolution, I will support it.

Collins says it’s not yet clear whether money earmarked for improving the drydock at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard would– in her words– be “robbed” in order to meet President Trump’s priorities.

Collins spoke Wednesday at a Coast Guard ceremony in South Portland.

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But she voted IN FAVOR of the emergency declaration in the Senate!!!

How did Maine Senator Susan Collins Vote?

Date Bill No. Bill Title Outcome Vote
Feb. 14, 2019 H J Res 31 Making further continuing appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal year 2019, and for other purposes Conference Report Adopted – Senate
(84 – 15)
Yea
Feb. 14, 2019 PN 17 Nomination of William Pelham Barr to be Attorney General of the Department of Justice Senate
(54 – 1)
Yea
Feb. 12, 2019 PN 17 Nomination of William Pelham Barr to be Attorney General of the Department of Justice Cloture Invoked – Senate
(55 – 44)
Yea
Feb. 12, 2019 S 47 Natural Resources Management Act Bill Passed – Senate
(92 – 8)
Yea
Feb. 5, 2019 S 1 Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019 Bill Passed – Senate
(77 – 23)
Yea
Jan. 8, 2019 S 47 Natural Resources Management Act Senate Co-sponsor
Jan. 3, 2019 S 1 Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019 Senate Co-sponsor

You weren’t surprised, were you?

 

Let’s make a coin for Roslyn Corrigan, groped by President Bush when she was 16, (sixth victim) what do you say, Senator King?

By ARIC JENKINS 

November 13, 2017

Roslyn Corrigan was sixteen years old when she got a chance to meet George H.W. Bush, excited to be introduced to a former president having grown up dreaming of going into politics.

But Corrigan was crushed by her encounter: Bush, then 79 years old, groped her buttocks at a November 2003 event in The Woodlands, Texas, office of the Central Intelligence Agency where Corrigan’s father gathered with fellow intelligence officers and family members to meet Bush, Corrigan said. Corrigan is the sixth woman since Oct. 24 to accuse Bush publicly of grabbing her buttocks without consent.

“My initial reaction was absolute horror. I was really, really confused,” Corrigan told TIME, speaking publicly for the first time about the encounter. “The first thing I did was look at my mom and, while he was still standing there, I didn’t say anything. What does a teenager say to the ex-president of the United States? Like, ‘Hey dude, you shouldn’t have touched me like that?’”

Roslyn Corrigan (L), former president George H.W. Bush (C) and Sari Young (R) at the November 2003 event where Corrigan says Bush groped her.
Roslyn Corrigan (L), former president George H.W. Bush (C) and Sari Young (R) at the November 2003 event where Corrigan says Bush groped her.
Courtesy Corrigan Family

Corrigan said the incident happened while she was being photographed standing next to Bush. Five other women have made similar claims against Bush in recent weeks. Seven people, including family members and friends, confirmed to TIME that they had been told about alleged groping by Bush of Corrigan prior to the other recent allegations.

“George Bush simply does not have it in his heart to knowingly cause anyone harm or distress, and he again apologizes to anyone he may have offended during a photo op,” Bush spokesperson Jim McGrath said in a statement to TIME. Previously, McGrath said Bush “has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner,” additionally attributing the act to his diminished height after being confined to a wheelchair since 2012. Bush was standing upright in 2003 when he met Corrigan.

Corrigan said that to this day, some of the responses she gets to her story are dismissive but she said she feels emboldened to speak out after seeing other women come forward, and hopes more will do so after hearing her account.

“I don’t know, maybe it never really hit people that I was a child at the time and that goes beyond a guy being inappropriate in the workplace to a peer or somebody in his age range,” she said. “I was a child.”

Corrigan, who had heard Bush give a speech at a conference held at the George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University earlier in November 2003, asked her father, Steve A. Young, if she could leave early from her classes at The Woodlands High School and join him at the planned visit by Bush. After Bush addressed the CIA gathering, which included agency personnel and their family members, Corrigan had the opportunity to take a photograph with Bush, alongside her mother, Sari Young.

Ryan Trapani, a spokesperson for the CIA, declined multiple requests for comment regarding Young’s employment and Corrigan’s allegation against Bush.

“As soon as the picture was being snapped on the one-two-three he dropped his hands from my waist down to my buttocks and gave it a nice, ripe squeeze, which would account for the fact that in the photograph my mouth is hanging wide open,” Corrigan said. “I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, what just happened?’”

Courtesy of the Corrigan Family

Her mother, Sari, said Corrigan told her about the encounter as soon as Bush stepped away.

“When he left, my daughter Rozi said, ‘He grabbed me on the rear end.’ And I said, ‘What, what?’” Sari said. “And she said, ‘Yes, he grabbed me when they were taking the picture. He grabbed me on my butt.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my god, are you kidding me?’

“I was really, really upset — she was very upset, she was really, really mad,” she added. Sari said she would have tried to take action “had it been just some Joe Blow or something. I’d probably chase him down and yell at him.”

“But, you know, it’s the president. What are you supposed to do?” she said in a Oct. 28 interview. “And you’ve got your husband’s job that could be in jeopardy. I mean, you just didn’t then. You should—you should have always spoken up, always—but we didn’t.”

Within the next few days, Corrigan told her childhood friend Chelsea Wellman about the alleged groping as well, Wellman told TIME on Oct. 27.

Christopher Yarbrough, who was married to Corrigan from 2010 until their divorce the following year, said on Oct. 27 he learned about the incident about a month after they started dating in 2005. One day, the two were going through scrapbooks at Sari’s house, he said, when they flipped to a page revealing the photo with Bush. He said that Corrigan then told him about the encounter with the former president.

Tristan Voskuhl, who went to Sam Houston State University with Corrigan, said Corrigan first told her about the incident in 2006 when they were 19 years old. Bob Unseld, a family friend, said Sari first told him of the incident in 2013. “She didn’t say it just once. She told me this several times that he had done this to Rozi. It made her very mad.” Paul Weins, Unseld’s husband, also said he heard Sari’s account of the incident in 2013.

Bush, who from January 1976 to January 1977 served as the CIA’s director of Central Intelligence—the former title of the agency’s highest-ranking position—is one of a number of prominent figures to be accused of sexual assault since news of alleged past assaults committed by Harvey Weinstein broke early last month.

Actress Heather Lind was the first to openly accuse Bush of groping her while they posed for a photo during a promotional tour for her AMC series Turn: Washington’s Spies in 2013.

“He didn’t shake my hand. He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side,” Lind wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post on Oct. 24.

On Oct. 25, New York-based actress Jordana Grolnick told Deadspin Bush groped her in August 2016 at a Maine theater where she was performing. She said that Bush came backstage with Barbara during the intermission of the play, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and gathered with the cast for a photo.

On Oct. 26, best-selling author Christina Baker Kline wrote in Slate that Bush groped her during an April 2014 photo op at a Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy fundraiser in Houston.

Amanda Staples, a former Maine Senate candidate said in a private Instagram post on Oct. 26 that Bush groped her in 2006, the Portland Press Heraldreported.

Liz Allen, a retired Erie Times-News journalist, said in an Oct. 26 Facebook post that Bush touched her from behind at a local business association event while taking a photograph with the former president in Erie, Pa. in 2004.

Bush’s spokesperson, McGrath, declined a separate request from TIME to comment on Staples and Allen’s allegations, which they said occurred when the former president was standing up.

Corrigan said that Bush’s response to Lind and Grolnick’s allegations, which cited his use of a wheelchair, bothers her because the “excuse for his senile, old man antics… is not true.”

She said that recently, she was listening to an episode of a podcast hosted by Ben Shapiro called “Is Everything Sexual Assault Now?” Allegations against Bush were discussed on the show.

“When I heard that was the reason, like, ‘Oh, he’s just an old man and he doesn’t know any better and he’s just being harmless and playful and it’s just where his arm falls… I just burst into uncontrollable sobbing,” Corrigan said. “I just couldn’t sit with that. I can’t. I cannot sit with that. I can’t sleep anymore, because that’s not true, and it’s not an excuse.”

On Nov. 1, former first lady Laura Bush, wife of George W. Bush, told CNN that the alleged incidents against her father-in-law were “very innocent.”

“I’m just sad that we’ve come to this,” Laura Bush told the network. “That was something that was very, very innocent that he’s been accused of. But I know he would feel terrible.”

Corrigan said she doesn’t see it that way.

“It completely floored me. I was actually there to be taken seriously, and I wasn’t,” she said. “I thought, he’s a career politician, almost 80 years old or something like that, if anybody’s going to take me a little bit seriously or at least try to pretend he’s interested in what I have to say, it would be this guy. And he didn’t. All he did was grab my butt.”