A woman has accused President Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her at the 1997 U.S. Open in New York. In an exclusive interview with The Guardian, Amy Dorris said Mr. Trump groped various parts of her body and forced his tongue into her mouth outside a bathroom at the event.
The Guardian reported that Dorris has provided the outlet with evidence that she and Mr. Trump were attending the event together. The report includes several photos of Mr. Trump and Dorris together, including one in front of the area where the alleged assault took place.
Mr. Trump has denied the allegations through his attorneys. Jenna Ellis, legal advisor to the Trump campaign, told CBS News that “the allegations are totally false.”
“We will consider every legal means available to hold The Guardian accountable for its malicious publication of this unsubstantiated story,” Ellis said in a statement. “This is just another pathetic attempt to attack President Trump right before the election.”
Dorris told The Guardian the incident occurred when she was 24 years old and visiting New York with her then-boyfriend Jason Binn, who was friends with Mr. Trump. She said she and Binn attended the U.S. Open with Mr. Trump on September 5, 1997, where they watched matches from his private box. Photos published by the Guardian show Trump, Dorris and others in the box.
Dorris told the outlet that at one point during the event, she went to the bathroom that was located in the box behind a partition wall and Mr. Trump was waiting outside the bathroom when she left.
“He just shoved his tongue down my throat and I was pushing him off. And then that’s when his grip became tighter and his hands were very gropey and all over my butt, my breasts, my back, everything,” she told The Guardian.
She said that she was in shock.
“I felt violated, obviously,” she said. “But I still wasn’t processing it and just was trying to go back to talking to everyone and having a good time because, I don’t know, I felt pressured to be that way.”
The Guardian reported that Dorris had told several people about what allegedly occurred. The outlet said that Dorris called a friend in New York, as well as her mother, immediately after the alleged assault, and that she eventually disclosed the events to some friends and her therapist. What she told those individuals matched what she told the outlet, The Guardian reported.
Binn did not respond to The Guardian’s request for comment, but Mr. Trump’s lawyers told the outlet that Binn told them he did not recall Dorris saying that anything inappropriate or uncomfortable had happened with Mr. Trump.
Lawyers for Mr. Trump questioned why Dorris would remain around Mr. Trump and attend other gatherings with him in the days that followed if she had been assaulted. But Dorris told the outlet that she was in the city “with no money” and “nowhere to go.”
Lawyers also questioned how the alleged assault could have occurred in a box where others were present, and asked why she chose to sit next to Mr. Trump at a memorial service days later when she could have sat on the other side of Binn, The Guardian reported. The lawyers also noted that Dorris had never reported the alleged assault to law enforcement, and suggested that the timing of her allegations was politically motivated.
Dorris told The Guardian she thought about speaking about the alleged assault in 2016, but decided against it, partially out of fear that it would harm her family.
She said she still doesn’t feel safe, but added that “I don’t care because people need to hear this […] It’s sexual assault and it’s not OK.”
More than a dozen women have accused Mr. Trump of sexual misconduct. Last year, advice columnist E. Jean Carroll came forward about her own alleged assault by the president. She tweeted out support for Dorris on Thursday, saying that Dorris’s decision to come forward was “in support of all women.”
Trump has denied Carroll’s claims, saying he “has no idea” who she is, and that her claim is a “total false accusation.”
Carroll also tweeted out a “reminder” that Trump had allegedly sexually assaulted another woman,, at the U.S. Open in 1998 — just a year after the alleged encounter with Dorris took place. Virginia came forward with the allegation in 2016, saying Mr. Trump had approached her as she waited for a car after the U.S. Open, grabbed her by the arm and touched her breast. When she flinched, he allegedly asked “Don’t you know who I am?”
In 2016, the Trump campaign said Virginia’s allegation was part of a “smear” campaign in coordination with then-presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Roughly 70% of people who experience sexual assault never report it, according to the Department of Justice. Advocates for victims of sexual assault have explained that many people choose not to come forward for years, if at all. Scott Berkowitz, president of the anti-sexual violence organization RAINN, toldin 2018 that victims often fear retaliation or being attacked again, and may feel ashamed or experience social pressure.