Woman Says Trump Groped Her on Plane: 'It Was an Assault'

Growing number of women detail Republican presidential nominee's alleged inappropriate behavior

Several women allege Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump sexually assaulted them in the wake of his debate denials. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty

Jessica Leeds was watching the debate on Sunday when she heard Donald Trump vehemently deny on national television that he had ever kissed women without their consent or "grab[bed] them by the pussy," per his recorded statements in a video from 2005 obtained by The Washington Post.

"I wanted to punch the screen," she told The New York Times in a new interview. Leeds and Rachel Crooks spoke with the Times to detail their alleged disturbing assaults at the hands of the now Republican presidential nominee. Meanwhile, a growing number of women are opening up about Trump's lewd behavior.

Leeds told the Times that Trump grabbed her breasts and attempted to put his hand up her skirt while she sat beside him on a flight more than 30 years ago. "He was like an octopus," she said. "His hands were everywhere." His actions led her to flee from her first class seat to the back of the airplane. "It was an assault," Leeds said. Four people close to Leeds corroborated her account to the Times.

Rachel Crooks said that in 2005 when she was 22-years-old, she worked at a real estate and investment development company in Trump Tower when Trump allegedly accosted her. She was in an elevator with him and she introduced herself. They shook hands, and she said he didn't let go, began to kiss her cheeks and then "kissed me directly on the mouth."

"It was so inappropriate," Crooks told the Times. "I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that."

Trump denied the allegations. "None of this ever took place," he told the Times and also called the reporter "a disgusting human being" before reiterating that his comments in the 2005 clip were "locker room talk."

In a statement from the Trump campaign, they reiterated his stance. "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," the statement read. "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."

Hillary for America (HFA) also released a statement via HFA Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri in response to the new allegations about Trump's actions. "This disturbing story sadly fits everything we know about the way Donald Trump has treated women," it reads. "These reports suggest that he lied on the debate stage and that the disgusting behavior he bragged about in the tape are more than just words."

Even more women beyond those interviewed by the Times have stepped forward to speak about his alleged sexual assaults, prompted by his claim that he has never inappropriately groped or kissed a woman. Mindy McGillvray told Palm Beach Post that Trump had groped her 13 years ago when she was 23-years-old. She said his denial during the debate caused her to jump from her couch and scream "You liar!" In 2003 she says she was at Trump's Mar-a-Lago for a Ray Charles concert. She told the newspaper that the alleged grope was "pretty close to the center of my butt. I was startled. I jumped."

His alleged inappropriate behavior is also surfacing from former Miss Teen USA contestants. Trump owned that pageant, along with Miss Universe and Miss USA, from 1996 until 2015. Four women who competed in the 1997 Miss Teen USA beauty pageant told Buzzfeed that Trump allegedly walked into their dressing room while the girls were changing, though none of those interviewed said he made physical contact. Some were as young as 15-years-old.

Meanwhile, CBS obtained footage it unveiled on Wednesday of another untoward comment Trump made during an Entertainment Tonight Christmas feature, which aired in 1992. In the clip, he is standing with a group of young girls. He addresses one of them to ask if she's "going up the escalator." After she replies "yeah," he says to the camera, "I am going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?" He was 46-years-old at the time.