Woman Claims Clinton Sexually Harassed Her In '91
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - A former Arkansas state employee, saying she wanted to restore her "good reputation," charged yesterday that then-Gov. Bill Clinton made sexual advances toward her in his hotel room during a 1991 conference in Little Rock.
The charges by Paula Jones at a news conference here are the latest in a series of allegations of sexual misconduct that have plagued Clinton since he began his drive for the presidency in 1992.
In a letter to Clinton, Jones' lawyer, Daniel Traylor, asked for a public apology and warned of a possible lawsuit.
"It is not true," said White House communications director Mark Gearan. "The incident never happened." He said Clinton did not know the woman.
Another senior White House official denounced the event as a "Republican dog-and-pony show" aimed at attacking Clinton.
Jones, who now lives in California, said in an affidavit and in response to reporters' questions that she went to Clinton's hotel room because an Arkansas state trooper told her the governor wanted to talk to her.
Although Jones, who is in her late 20s, had never met Clinton, she said she believed she could trust him because he was the governor.
But she claimed that after the trooper, whom she identified as Danny Ferguson, escorted her to the room and left her alone with Clinton, the governor became aggressive.
"He took my hand," she said, and loosened his tie. "You have nice curves," Jones said he told her. "I love the way your hair goes down your body."
Jones said Clinton pulled her to him, slid his hand up her leg and asked her for "a type of sex."
When she protested that she needed to return to her assignment at the conference registration desk in the lobby, she said Clinton told her: "Don't worry about that."
Jones claimed she rebuffed the governor's advances and left in 15 minutes.
"It was wrong that a woman could work in the workplace and be harassed by a figure that high," she said. "It was just humiliating what he did to me."
Jones was accompanied yesterday by her husband, Steven, who said: "What happened in that room was a disgrace to Paula. I have bad feelings toward Mr. Clinton."
Jones' account of the episode was supported by affidavits from a co-worker, Pamela Blackard, and a friend, Debra Ballentine, both of whom said Jones told them about the incident on the day it allegedly occurred, May 8, 1991.
Jones did not pursue the matter at the time, Traylor said, because she felt she had no recourse. "The police were the people who had escorted her up," the lawyer said. Moreover, he said, Clinton claimed to have been friends with Jones' boss.
Jones came forward, Traylor said, because of a report of the episode in the January issue of The American Spectator magazine.
The story, which identified her only as "Paula," reported that she had spent an hour in Clinton's room and had told the trooper she was willing to become the governor's "regular girlfriend," if Clinton "so desired."
Jones appeared at the news conference along with Arkansas troopers Roger Perry and Larry Patterson, who have accused Clinton of sexual indiscretions, and Cliff Jackson, a former Oxford classmate of Clinton's who has devoted the last two years to turning up embarrassing information from the president's past.
The three were announcing a "Troopergate Whistleblower Fund" to aid people who blow the whistle on official wrongdoing.
Jackson said Jones was not a beneficiary of the fund but that she might apply to the fund. Information from Reuters is included in this report.
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