George HW Bush apologises to actress after sexual assault claim

A spokesperson said the former US president would 'never intentionally cause anyone distress'

George HW Bush apologises to actress after sexual assault claim

File photo. Picture by: Anthony Behar/SIPA USA/PA Images

Former US president George HW Bush has apologised to an actress who claimed he sexually assaulted her from his wheelchair.

Boardwalk Empire star Heather Lind alleged in an Instagram post that the 93-year-old groped her when they met at a TV screening in 2014.

She claimed Mr Bush "didn't shake my hand" and "touched me from behind from his wheelchair" while his wife Barbara stood by his side.

The star said Mr Bush then "told me a dirty joke" and touched her again while they were photographed.

Lind, who has since deleted the post from her account, 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 spokesperson for Mr Bush said the former president "would never under any circumstance intentionally cause anyone distress", adding that he "most sincerely apologises if his attempt at humour offended Ms Lind".

Lind made the allegation after a string of Hollywood stars came forward to accuse producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, harassment and rape.

The allegations have thrown the industry into the spotlight and Lind revealed she was inspired by "the bravery of other women who have spoken up and written about their experiences".

The 34-year-old said she was also moved to act after seeing pictures of Mr Bush and Barack Obama shaking hands at a fundraiser last week.

In her Instagram post, Lind said: "It seems to me a president's power is in his or her capacity to enact positive change, actually help people, and serve as a symbol of our democracy.

"(Mr Bush) relinquished that power when he used it against me and, judging from the comments of those around him, countless other women before me."

"What comforts me is that I too can use my power, which isn't so different from a president really. I can enact positive change. I can actually help people.

"I can be a symbol of my democracy. I can refuse to call him president, and call out other abuses of power when I see them."