Another woman has come forward to accuse Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump of “victimizing her with inappropriate sexual conduct.”
Karena Virginia, 45, tearfully told her story Thursday morning during a press conference with attorney Gloria Allred.
Virginia, a yoga instructor and life coach from New York, said she did not know Trump before the incident, which occurred in 1998. She was 27 at the time.
She said Trump approached her outside the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York while she waited for a car, and touched her breast without her consent.
Virginia is the latest in a group of 10 women to accuse Trump of sexual assault and harassment this month.
“Today we are here with yet another woman who accuses Donald Trump of disrespecting her by engaging in unwanted and inappropriate sexual behavior,” Allred said at the press conference held at The London Hotel in New York City. “Today’s victim is also noteworthy in that her allegations demonstrate how Mr. Trump selects his victims at random. Some of the women, including the woman who is here today, had an encounter with Mr. Trump that appeared to be strictly by chance. Mr. Trump allegedly felt that whether on an airplane, or seeing a woman waiting for a car, that he had the absolute right to do whatever he wanted to. Because after all, he is a celebrity.
“Mr. Trump, the fact that you are a celebrity does not give you a license to violate women,” Allred continued. “To the contrary it gives you more responsibility, to respect women, as many women will look up to you as a role model, because of your celebrity status. To show respect to women means you need to respect their boundaries, and not to act on your impulses to grab and to grope at your pleasure.”
Trump has denied all the accusations made against him, including the latest by Virginia.
“Discredited political operative Gloria Allred, in another coordinated, publicity seeking attack with the Clinton campaign, will stop at nothing to smear Mr. Trump,” Jessica Ditto, deputy communications director for Trump’s campaign, said in a statement. “Give me a break. Voters are tired of these circus-like antics and reject these fictional stories and the clear efforts to benefit Hillary Clinton.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Virginia Says She Overheard Trump Tell Other Men ‘Look at This One … Look at Those Legs’ Before She Says He Groped Her
Karena Virginia said the incident with Trump occurred in 1998 at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York.
At a press conference alongside Gloria Allred, she was waiting for a car to take her home when she was approached by Donald Trump and a few other man. She said she recognized Trump, but didn’t know him personally.
You can watch the full press conference below:
She said Trump approached her.
“I knew who he was, but I’d never met him,” she said. “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.'”
Virginia said it as if she was an “object, rather than a person.”
She said Trump walked up to her, “and reached his right arm and grabbed my right arm. Then his hand touched the right inside of my breast. I was in shock, I flinched.”
Virginia said Trump then asked her, “‘Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know who I am?'”
A teary eyed Virginia said she “felt intimidated, I felt powerless.”
She said her car pulled up and she got in.
“After I closed the door, my shock turned to shame,” she said. “I felt ashamed that I was wearing a short dress and high heels, that feeling of shame stayed with me for awhile, and it made me disinclined to wear short dresses or high heels. For a number of years afterwards I struggled with what to wear so as not to attract unwanted attention.”
Virginia said she told her husband about what Trump had done to her.
“It was difficult for him to understand why I would ever blame myself for being violated,” she said of her husband.
Virginia said she saw Trump again about five years ago at a business event with many people around. He “looked her up and down a few times,” she said.
She said this time she felt “disgust” mixed in with her shame.
“I had come to the realization that I was the victim, that he had violated me when he groped me years earlier,” she said. “I now understand that I was not to blame. Mr. Trump, perhaps you do not remember me, or what you did to me so many years ago, but I can assure you that I remember you and what you did to me as though it was yesterday. Your random moment of sexual pleasure came at my expense and affected me greatly. Mr. Trump revealed his true character in his own words on tape, which indicated he felt entitled to grab women by their private parts.”
Virginia said Trump should “be ashamed not only of his words, but of his behavior towards so many women.”
2. She Said ‘I Am Here to Stand Up to Mr. Trump for Myself, My Family, Particularly My Daughter’
Karena Virginia said she came forward to join the other women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct.
“I am here today to add my voice to that of the other Trump accusers. I am here to stand up to Mr. Trump for myself, my family, particularly my daughter, and for all the women who deserve to be respected and not subjected to sexual abuse, or groped by powerful men who believe that women can be groped, grabbed or kissed at their pleasure,” Virginia said. “I am also here to support the other women who had the courage to come forward, only to be labeled as liars by Mr. Trump.”
She said no one asked her to come forward.
“In fact many people advised me not to speak publicly about what Donald Trump did to me out of concern that I would also be attacked by him,” she said. “I have been advised that Mr. Trump will probably call me a liar, just as he called all the other women liars who have made accusations against him. Or perhaps he will label me as perhaps just another ‘nasty woman.'”
Virginia said, “I have lost sleep over this,” and has been fearful of bringing unwanted attention to her family, including her husband, son and daughter.
“But in the end, I feel that it is my duty as a woman, as a mother, a human being, and as an American citizen to speak out and tell the truth about what happened to me,” she said.
Virginia previously wrote about the incident with Trump in a Facebook post on October 8:
I do not talk politics because I know the light always wins. I also love some beautiful souls who do not have the same political views as me who read my words. I do not choose judgement. I respect the soul so much more than the mind that makes decisions based on the past and the future.
However… this morning I feel compelled to share from my heart because one morning while meditating I heard a voice whisper: “When you are compelled to share, speak… when you want to prove a point, choose silence.” Today I feel compelled:
I have spent time with Donald Trump. I have also spent moments with his wife. I have also been hit on by Donald Trump in a way that I do not want to write about on social media. I have seen the sadness in his wife’s eyes looking directly into mine on quiet evenings at a private golf course with her son’s innocence gazing over.
I choose Love. I trust that light is coming into our world. Need I say more.
Allred said Virginia is not planning a lawsuit at this time.
When asked why she didn’t come forward earlier, Allred said, “It’s been a difficult decision for her to come forward, knowing that she would be attacked by Mr. Trump, and perhaps by some of his supporters. But she was very thoughtful about it and finally decided that it was her duty to come forward and that she would find the strength and courage to come forward.”
3. She Is a Yoga Instructor Who Bruce Springsteen Says ‘Offers a Whole New Perspective on Life’
Virginia is a “deeply spiritual yoga teacher, motivational speaker, healer, miracles counselor and spiritual coach,” according to her website.
She includes a quote on her website from musician Bruce Springsteen, who said, “The gift of Karena is that she offers a whole new perspective on life.”
Virginia said she has been a certified yoga instructor for nearly 20 years. She is also an author, writes for The Huffington Post and has made appearances on Veria Living and Bravo TV, according to her website:
As a child she was highly sensitive to angels and perceived the deep human need for sharing and uplifting one another. She began her path as spiritual teacher while working in the entertainment industry as a television actress and model recognizing that heart centered compassion was the tool for happiness. Karena incorporates the Law of Attraction and physics to co-create with Spirit, and become a magnetic being of pure love and miraculous force. Her theory on “Ask, Believe and Receive” has helped thousands of people attract the life of their deepest desire. Karena’s comforting wisdom reminds us to align, ask and allow. She encourages everyone to connect powerfully with their personal truth through love, compassion, inner beauty and radiance.
Ever since childhood Karena has had a sensitive and profound love for humanity, and has practiced opening her heart while embracing the divine connectivity between all. She believes love is the highest intelligence of the universe, and with love all things are possible. Love is the vibration that attracts miracles.
Virginia said she spoke out despite knowing it could negatively affect her family and her yoga business. But Allred said she had the support of her family.
“In terms of my yoga career, I truly believe in the divine, I believe in God, I believe that if you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all,” Virginia said. “I believe we are in a time of crisis and there is an awakening taking place, and I believe that we are all needing to find this inner peace within ourselves at this time. … This is how I’m finding my inner peace, and I wouldn’t have the integrity to keep teaching and speaking out for women without coming out and supporting the women who were told they were liars.”
Her husband, attorney Charles Virginia, was at the press conference Thursday. He is partner in the New York City-based law firm Virginia & Ambinder. He represents trade unions in employment litigation.
She was not married at the time of the alleged incident with Trump.
4. Trump Has Been Accused of Sexual Assault & Harassment by At Least 14 Women
Trump has now been accused of sexual assault and harassment by at least 14 women, including 10 women who have come forward in recent weeks.
Two women, Jessica Leeds and Rachel Crooks, spoke out to the New York Times, while Mindy McGillivray talked to the Palm Beach Post and Cassandra Searles wrote about her accusation on Facebook.
Natasha Stoynoff, a journalist, wrote about her experience with Trump in People. The new claims by five women are in addition to other accusations made in lawsuits and other media reports.
The latest accusations also come after a tape of Trump talking with Access Hollywood host Billy Bush about women in a vulgar manner, saying, “You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. … Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”
Trump has called the tape “locker room talk,” and said during Sunday night’s second presidential debate that he never acted in the way he talked in the video. “I have great respect for women, nobody has more respect for women than I do,” Trump said in response to a question from CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “I said things, that frankly, you hear these things I said, and I was embarrassed by it. But I have tremendous respect for women and women have tremendous respect for me.” Cooper pressed, “But have you ever done those things?,” and Trump replied, “No, I have not.”
The women who came forward earlier this month said they were influenced to do so after hearing his denial during the debate.
Jason Miller, the senior communications adviser for Trump’s campaign, denied the latest reports in a statement Wednesday night, specifically addressing the accusations in the New York Times by Leeds and Crooks:
This entire article is fiction, and for the New York Times to launch a completely false, coordinated character assassination against Mr. Trump on a topic like this is dangerous. To reach back decades in an attempt to smear Mr. Trump trivializes sexual assault, and it sets a new low for where the media is willing to go in its efforts to determine this election. It is absurd to think that one of the most recognizable business leaders on the planet with a strong record of empowering women in his companies would do the things alleged in this story, and for this to only become public decades later in the final month of a campaign for president should say it all. Further, the Times story buries the pro-Clinton financial and social media activity on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, reinforcing that this truly is nothing more than a political attack. This is a sad day for the Times.
The campaign has also pointed toward accusations of sexual assault and misconduct made against Bill Clinton in an effort to deflect the latest allegations made against Trump.
Allred is also representing Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice who accused Trump of sexual misconduct last week.
Zervos said that in 2007 she met with Donald Trump to discuss a job opportunity, only for him to sexually harass her and thrust his genitals at her.
Trump denied the accusation.
Allred has also represented several women who are accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault.
She is a Clinton supporter and was an elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention, but said she has not discussed the accusations with the campaign, saying she has her own law firm and “no one tells me what to do. I don’t tell them what to do. I have had no contact with them about Karena in advance of this. As to the other accuser that I came forward with about a week ago … I also did not tell the Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign that I would be coming forward with Summer Zerbos or any other woman before comign forward.”
Allred said Virginia contacted her.
You can read about all the women accusing Trump at the link below:
5. Trump Has Called the Recent Accusations Against Him ‘Lies & Fiction’ & Said ‘Nobody Has More Respect for Women’ Than Him
Trump has gone on the attack against the women who have accused him of sexual assault and other misconduct, saying all the accusations are “lies and fiction,” during Wednesday night’s third and final presidential debate.
He also said the claims have all been “debunked,” and added that he has not apologized to his wife, Melania Trump, because nothing happened.
Trump said the Clinton campaign could be behind the women coming forward.
“I didn’t see these women,” Trump said. “I think they want fame or her campaign did it.”
Trump previously said about the allegations, “These claims are all fabricated, they’re pure fiction, and they’re outright lies. These events never ever happened … you take a look at these people, you study these people, and you’ll understand also. The claims are preposterous, ludicrous, and defy truth, common sense and logic.”
During Wednesday night’s debate in Las Vegas, Hillary Clinton struck back at Trump by saying he attacked his accusers by claiming they were not attractive enough for him to sexually assault. Trump denied that claim.
“Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger,” Clinton said at the debate. “He goes after their dignity, their self-worth, and I don’t think there is a woman anywhere who doesn’t know what that feels like.”
Trump repeated a line at the debate he has used before, saying, “nobody has more respect for women than I do,” which prompted laughs from some in the audience.
At the press conference Thursday with Virginia, Allred addressed the comments made by Trump at the debate.
“His response is ludicrous in light of the fact that nine women have come forward with allegations that Mr. Trump engaged in kissing them without their consent, groping them, grabbing their breasts and vagina, forcing his tongue down one woman’s throat, attempting to have a sexual relationship with another and generally behaving in accordance with Mr. Trump’s own words, which were captured on tape, bragging about what he wanted to do with women and to women,” Allred said.
Earlier, Allred said to Trump, “Your statements in response to some of your accusers, suggesting that they were not attractive enough to merit your unwanted attentions is also indicative of disrespect and the height of arrogance and entitlement. Mr. Trump you may have thought you could violate women without consequences. But there are always consequences. There are consequences for the women that you have hurt and there are consequences for you as well. You have called yourself a victim, but it is not you that is the victim. Given the allegations against you, you should never again utter the words that you respect women.”
Allred also said that she does not agree with Trump that the claims were all “debunked,” saying he didn’t share any evidence to “support his conclusion that these are lies or that they’ve been debunked.”