POLITICS

Female Lawyer Accuses Justice Clarence Thomas Of Groping Her In 1999

She was 23 at the time. He was a Supreme Court justice.

28/10/2016 4:52 AM AEDT | Updated 28/10/2016 8:27 AM AEDT
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Justice Clarence Thomas has been accused of sexual harassment before.

Years after his Senate confirmation hearings were roiled by accusations that he sexually harassed Anita Hill, another woman has come forward to accuse Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of groping her.

Moira Smith, vice president and general counsel at Enstar Natural Gas Co., told the National Law Journal that the justice grabbed her without her consent in 1999, when she met him at a Truman Foundation dinner.

Veteran Supreme Court reporter Marcia Coyle writes that Smith described the encounter ― which allegedly took place when she was a 23-year-old Truman scholar ― on Facebook earlier this month. She has since deactivated her Facebook page.

“He groped me while I was setting the table, suggesting I should sit ‘right next to him,’” Smith wrote, according to the NLJ.

Smith told the NLJ that Thomas “cupped his hand around my butt and pulled me pretty close to him” and later “squeezed” her behind during a June 1999 dinner for Truman scholars at the home of Louis Blair, then head of the Truman Foundation.

The NLJ spoke with several of Smith’s former roommates and fellow Truman scholars who said they remembered her describing the incident at the time.

Through a Supreme Court spokeswoman, Thomas denied Smith’s allegations. “This claim is preposterous and it never happened,” he said in the statement.

During Thomas’ Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991, Hill, a law professor, testified that Thomas had harassed her a decade earlier, when he was her supervisor at the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

Earlier this month, Hill wrote a Boston Globe op-ed about her experience, sparked by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s recorded boasts about grabbing women “by the pussy” and kissing women without their consent.

“What I learned in 1991 is no less true today and no less important for people to understand: responses to sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence must start with a belief that women matter as much as the powerful men they encounter at work or at school, whether those men are bosses or professors, colleagues or fellow students,” Hill wrote.

Read more at the National Law Journal.

Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.

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