A woman has publicly accused Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her at the 1997 U.S. Open. In an exclusive interview with The Guardian, Amy Dorris alleges that Trump groped her and forced his tongue in her mouth years ago at the New York City tennis match. Dorris now joins over a dozen women who have accused the President of sexual misconduct over the years.
The Trump campaign, meanwhile, has denied the accusation, calling Dorris’ account “totally false.”
Dorris claims the incident took place when she was 24 years old, during a visit to New York with her then-boyfriend Jason Binn, who was a friend of Trump’s at the time. The real estate mogul invited the couple to his private box at the U.S. Open on September 5, 1997. Dorris provided The Guardian with several photographs of them together, including one image of herself with Trump, just outside the site of the alleged assault.
Dorris says that at one point she left for the restroom, which was just beyond a partition wall in Trump’s box. But when she came out of the restroom, she says Trump was waiting for her. That’s when, she claims, he attacked her.
“He just shoved his tongue down my throat and I was pushing him off,” she told The Guardian. “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.”
“I felt violated, obviously,” she continued. “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.”
But Dorris did not stay completely silent about the incident in the years that followed. The Guardian confirmed that she called a New York friend as well as her mother, immediately following the incident. Later on, she told a few additional confidantes and her personal therapist, all of whom confirmed Dorris’ account to The Guardian. She did not, however, inform law enforcement, though that isn’t too suspicious. After all, about 70% of women who withstand sexual assault never report it to police.
Trump’s lawyers, meanwhile, have rejected the accusation, raising questions about Dorris’ motivations. The President’s legal team asked why Dorris would continue spending time with Trump in the days that followed, attending other events jointly with her boyfriend. In response, Dorris insists that she was in the city “with no money” and “nowhere to go.” And her boyfriend, after all, was friends with Trump, who already enjoyed powerful celebrity status in New York.
Furthermore, Trump’s lawyers questioned how the alleged assault could have happened in a private box where there were others present, and why Dorris never reported the attack to the police. Ultimately, Trump’s legal team suggests that her new accusations, only seven weeks before a presidential election, are politically motivated.
Still, Dorris told The Guardian that she considered coming forward with the story back in 2016. But she decided at the time not to speak out, partially from fear that it would bring harm to her family.
These days, Dorris still doesn’t feel safe, but says she can no longer keep the story secret “because people need to hear this.”
“It’s sexual assault and it’s not okay,” she insisted.