Ex­perts: Bush grop­ing al­le­ga­tions would be hard to pros­e­cute

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - NEWS - By No­maan Mer­chant

HOUSTON » Al­le­ga­tions that for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush in­ap­pro­pri­ately touched six women in­volve po­ten­tial crimes pun­ish­able by fines or jail time, if they had been pros­e­cuted.

All but one of the cases is in­el­i­gi­ble un­der state laws that limit when a pros­e­cu­tion can be­gin af­ter an al­leged crime, and sev­eral lawyers in­ter­viewed said that it would be dif­fi­cult to win a con­vic­tion against Bush, who has vas­cu­lar parkin­son­ism, a rare syn­drome that mim­ics Parkin­son’s dis­ease.

“You’re still go­ing to be fac­ing pros­e­cut­ing a 93-year-old man in a wheel­chair that’s a for­mer pres­i­dent,” said Toby Shook, a lawyer who pre­vi­ously served as a pros­e­cu­tor in Dal­las. “I doubt if you could ever find a jury that would ever want to con­vict him.”

There’s no in­di­ca­tion pros­e­cu­tors are plan­ning to pur­sue a case against Bush. Jor­dana Grol­nick, an ac­tress who al­leged that Bush groped her be­hind last year as his wife, Bar­bara, stood nearby, told The As­so­ci­ated Press that she has no plans to re­port the 41st pres­i­dent to au­thor­i­ties. That ap­pears to be the only in­ci­dent that hasn’t reached the lo­cal statute of lim­i­ta­tions on how long a crime can be pros­e­cuted af­ter it oc­curs.

The six in­ci­dents oc­curred in three states over a decade. In all of the cases, the women say Bush touched their but­tocks as they stood next to him to take pho­tos. All three states have laws against touch­ing some­one with­out their con­sent.

The women’s sto­ries broadly fol­low the same out­line: Bush pat­ted them be­low the waist as they stood next to him to take pho­tos, some­times with a joke about his fa­vorite ma­gi­cian or writer be­ing named “David Cop-a-Feel.”

Bush has is­sued re­peated apolo­gies through a spokesman “to any­one he has of­fended.” The spokesman, Jim McGrath, said in a state­ment last month that Bush has used a wheel­chair for roughly five years, and that “his arm falls on the lower waist of peo­ple with whom he takes pic­tures.” In a state­ment Mon­day, McGrath said, “Ge­orge Bush sim­ply does not have it in his heart to know­ingly cause any­one dis­tress, and he again apol­o­gizes to any­one he of­fended dur­ing a photo op.”

McGrath did not re­spond to a re­quest for ad­di­tional com­ment Tues­day.

Ac­tress Heather Lind was the first to ac­cuse Bush of grop­ing her, say­ing in an Oct. 24 In­sta­gram post that Bush “touched me from be­hind” and told “a dirty joke” while they posed for a photo at a Houston screen­ing of the AMC tele­vi­sion se­ries “Turn.”


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