Karena Virginia becomes tenth woman to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct
A yoga instructor and lifestyle coach came forward Thursday with claims that Donald Trump had inappropriate sexual contact with her, becoming at least the tenth woman to make such allegations against the GOP nominee.
Flanked by civil rights attorney Gloria Allred, who has represented other women with similar claims against Trump, Karena Virginia shared her story, tears streaming down her cheeks.
"I have been fearful of bringing unwanted attention to my loving family and me," Virginia said in a news conference. "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."
Virginia said she first encountered Donald Trump in 1998, as she was waiting for a car service to pick her up after the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Queens, New York.
"I knew who he was, but I had never met him. He was with a few other men," she said. "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.' As though I was an object, rather than a person."
Trump then allegedly walked up to her, grabbed her arm, and then touched the inside of her breast, Virginia said.
"I was in shock. I flinched. 'Don't you know who I am? Don't you know who I am?' That's what he said to me," she said.
The "shock turned to shame," she said. Virginia said that for years she felt she was to blame for the incident because she was wearing a short dress and high heels at the time.
"About five years ago, I saw Mr. Trump once again. This time, we were at a business setting and there were many people around. He looked me up and down a few times. This time, mixed in with the feelings of shame, I felt disgust," she said.
Her claim is the latest in a string from accusers with similar stories of being groped or kissed by Trump. Trump has fervently denied the accusations, in some cases going so far as to joke that the women accusing him aren't attractive enough for his taste.
Many Republicans have distanced themselves from the candidate amid the allegations, particularly following the unearthing of a 2005 tape in which Trump used lewd language to describe grabbing women.
Virginia said many people had advised her not to come forward, fearing she would be attacked by the Republican nominee. But she said Trump revealed "his true character in his own words" on the tape.
"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," she said. "Your random moment of sexual pleasure came at my expense and affected me greatly."