A woman is claiming that Clarence Thomas groped her when she was a scholar in 1999. The Justice has denied the allegation.
Moira Smith says that Thomas squeezed her on the buttocks several times at a dinner party when she was a Truman Foundation Scholar, according to the National Law Journal. Justice Thomas released a statement through a Supreme Court spokeswoman denying the allegations.
“This claim is a preposterous and it never happened,” the spokeswoman said.
The National Law Journal also interviewed three of Smith’s former roommates during the spring and summer of 1999 in order to corroborate her claims. Each said that they remembered Smith speaking about the inappropriate conduct.
The publication also spoke to three other people who attended the same dinner, including Louis Blair, the former head of the Truman Foundation. Each denied that they had any knowledge of the incident. Blair also doubted that Thomas would have been alone with any of the dinner guests.
Thomas is no stranger to allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct. He faced sexual harassment allegations by Anita Hill in 1991 when he was nominated to the Supreme Court. She testified before the Senate that Thomas had sexually harassed her verbally when she worked for him at the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and also when he was the chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Thomas has always denied Hill’s allegations. At that time, he said “For almost a decade my responsibilities included enforcing the rights of victims of sexual harassment. As a boss, as a friend, and as a human being I was proud that I have never had such an allegation leveled against me, even as I sought to promote women and minorities into nontraditional jobs.” No other women have accused the Justice of sexual harassment during the past 25 years.
Moira Smith first made her groping allegations in a Facebook post on October 7th. “That willingness by men in power to take advantage of vulnerable women relies on an unspoken pact that the women will not speak up about it,” she told the National Law Journal.
“I have an eight-year-old daughter. Before last weekend, I had subconsciously convinced myself she would never go through this and now I know she almost certainly will,” Smith told the Journal. “I am responsible to help minimize the risks and help her to understand what to do if she does, and to model the behavior that it’s not OK. It has changed my worldview as a mother.”