Karena Virginia Becomes 10th Woman to Accuse Trump of Sexual Misconduct
Lawyer Gloria Allred hugs Karena Virginia, who claimed to be the victim of sexual assault by Republican presidential candidate Trump back in 1998, during a news conference on Thursday.CARLO ALLEGRI / Reuters
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A yoga instructor and lifestyle coach came forward Thursday with claims that Donald Trump had inappropriate sexual contact with her, becoming at least the 10th woman to make such allegations against the GOP nominee.
Flanked by women's rights attorney Gloria Allred, a Hillary Clinton supporter who has represented other women with sexual misconduct claims against Trump, Karena Virginia shared her story, tears streaming down her cheeks.
She said she first encountered Donald Trump in 1998, as she was waiting for a car service to pick her up after the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Queens, New York.
"I knew who he was, but I had never met him. He was with a few other men," she said at a press conference in New York Thursday. "I was quite surprised when I overheard him talking to the other men about me. He said, 'Hey, look at this one, we haven't seen her before. Look at those legs.' As though I was an object, rather than a person."
"He then walked up to me and reached his right arm and grabbed my right arm, then his hand touched the right inside of my breast. I was in shock. I flinched," she continued.
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Trump then asked her, "Don't you know who I am? Don't you know who I am?" she said.
After she got into her car, the "shock turned to shame," Virginia said. She said that for years she felt she was to blame for the incident because she was wearing a short dress and high heels at the time.
"I have been fearful of bringing unwanted attention to my loving family and me," Virginia said. "But in the end, I feel that it is my duty as a woman, as a mother, a human being and as an American citizen to speak out and tell the truth."
Virginia is "not considering a lawsuit at this time," Allred said, but wanted to speak out in response to Trump's "ludicrous" denial of the allegations against him. Allred served as an elected delegate during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia for Clinton in July.
Virginia added that she had another encounter with Trump more recently.
"About five years ago, I saw Mr. Trump once again. This time, we were at a business setting and there were many people around. He looked me up and down a few times. This time, mixed in with the feelings of shame, I felt disgust," she said.
Her claim is the latest in a string from accusers against Trump. Trump has fervently denied the accusations, in some cases going so far as to joke that the women accusing him aren't attractive enough for his taste.
Virginia said many people had advised her not to come forward, fearing she would be attacked by the Republican nominee. But she said Trump revealed "his true character in his own words" on the tape.
"I now understand that I was not to blame. Mr. Trump, perhaps you do not remember me or what you did to me so many years ago, but I can assure you that I remember you and what you did to me as though it was yesterday," she said. "Your random moment of sexual pleasure came at my expense and affected me greatly."