New York: Yoga instructor Karena Virginia on Thursday accused US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump of having initiating inappropriate sexual contact with her 18 years ago.
Virginia held a press conference in New York along with her attorney, Gloria Allred, who a week ago represented another of the 10 women who have come forward with similar claims against Trump, EFE news reported.
The yoga instructor, who did not reveal very personal details about herself or her encounter with Trump, broke down in tears several times as she publicly recalled her encounter with the real estate business magnate in 1998, while she was waiting for a car to pick her up from the US Open tennis tournament.
“I knew who he was, but I had never met him. He was with a few other men. I was quite surprised when I overheard him talking to the other men about me. He said, ‘Hey, look at this one, we haven’t seen her before. Look at those legs.’ As though I was an object, rather than a person,” she said.
She said that Trump then walked over to her, grabbed her by the arm and touched the inside of her breast.
“I was in shock. I flinched. ‘Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know who I am?’ That’s what he said to me,” EFE news quoted her as saying.
Virginia said that she kept the incident to herself because she felt ashamed of what had happened, adding that her interaction with Trump had emotional and psychological repercussions for her.
She said, amid tears, that for years afterwards she felt like she was responsible for the incident because at the time she had been wearing a short dress and high heels.
However, she said she had decided to come forward as a show of support for the other women who have also accused Trump of sexual harassment.
“I am here today to add my voice to those of the other accusers. I’m here today to stand up for myself, my family, particularly my daughter, and all the women who do not deserve to be subjected to sexual abuse by powerful men who believe that women can be groped, grabbed or kissed at their pleasure. I’m also here for the other women who had the courage to come forward only to be labelled as liars by Mr. Trump,” Virginia said.
Trump has categorically rejected the claims of the women who have come forward so far to accuse him of sexual misconduct, calling them “liars” and on Wednesday night at the third presidential debate with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, he said that they are just looking for their “10 minutes of fame”.
Allred said that she did not know Virginia before she contacted her regarding the alleged incident with Trump.
The attorney reiterated her support for Clinton in the presidential contest, but she said that her political leanings do not interfere with her professional work or the management of her law firm.
She added that, at present, Virginia has no plans to file a formal lawsuit against Trump.