"But when I got the chance to meet George H. W. Bush four years ago to promote a historical television show I was working on, he sexually assaulted me while I was posing for a similar photo.

"He didn't shake my hand. He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side. He told me a dirty joke,' she added.

Later on, as pictures were being taken, Bush repeated the act, while "Barbara rolled her eyes as if to say 'not again.'"

A Bush spokesman apologised to Lind for the former president's "attempt at humour."

WOMEN'S REARS

"President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures," a statement from Bush's office read.

"To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke — and on occasion, he has patted women's rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner.

"Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologises most sincerely," the statement added.

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