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Trump’s Sex (Discrimination) Scandals Part Three: Criminal Sexual Assault All Over The Country

In addition to the race discrimination case Trump settled with the DOJ in the 1070’s, the Chicago sex harassment and retaliation case Trump settled in 2010, and the California class action case Trump settled in 2013, Trump has faced at least two dozen cases for age, sex or race discrimination in employment — some of them being class cases. This is out of the thousands of cases that Trump has become embroiled in over the past decades.  There is so much out there on Trump’s sex discrimination scandals, we can only begin to scratch the surface.



Today, we’ll look at the 1997 lawsuit filed by an employee/business partner who worked with Trump in NYC and Florida, and the allegations of additional assault that were recounted by two women in the NY Times and by a third woman, a reporter for People magazine. These stories matter because, as the Times aptly reminded us in its opening:

Donald J. Trump was emphatic in the second presidential debate: Yes, he had boasted about kissing women without permission and grabbing their genitals. But he had never actually done those things, he said.

Trump touched women who worked with or for him without their consent

According to the 1997 complaint, Trump didn’t take very long before he made it clear he viewed the woman – a potential business partner and future employee – as a sex object. On the second day of their professional interactions – December 12, 1992 – Trump “repeatedly put his hands on plaintiff’s thighs and…attempt[ed] to touch plaintiff’s intimate private parts.” In addition, the lawsuit details that Trump:

  • “forcibly kissed, fondled and restrained” Harth after isolating her in a room alone on January 9, 1993;
  • “touch[ed] plaintiff’s private parts” on January 24, 1993; and
  • demonstrated “an uninvited sexual familiarity with plaintiff by touching and feeling plaintiff’s person” and inviting a male colleague to do the same in July 1993.

The complainant also indicated that Trump subjected her to repeated and unwanted sexually harassing discussions and also bragged about sleeping with her to colleagues. The victim withdrew the case not long after it was filed, at the same time Trump settled a lawsuit brought by her company for failing to hold up his end of the deal and likely as a part of the overall settlement terms. Although this woman had ongoing and complicated interactions with Trump in the following years, she maintains the accuracy of these allegations to this day.

In December 2005, a reporter for People magazine was tasked with writing a piece about Trump and Melania’s first anniversary and how life was going for the two of them together. According to the reporter, Trump was taking her on a tour of his home while Melania changed into a different outfit for the photoshoot when,

We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us. I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat.

The reporter goes on to detail that Trump, later in the day, told her that he was going to sleep with her and then tried to see her the next morning by showing up at her massage appointment. The reporter, who worked on celebrity interviews, decided to keep quiet because she was both embarrassed and scared that Trump, with his broad reach, would retaliate against her if she said or did anything.

trump-assault-harassment-harthTrump assaulted women with whom he came into casual contact
In the two narratives above, both women interacted with Trump in professional settings where Trump exerted control – directly or indirectly – over their careers. The Times story also details two additional stories where Trump assaulted women with whom he had only casual interactions.

According to the Times, it was in 1980 that Trump “grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up [the] skirt” of a woman sitting next to him on a flight. She fled to the back of the plane to escape the assault. As the woman explained to the Times, “she did not complain to the airline staff at the time. . . because such unwanted advances from men occurred throughout her time in business in the 1970s and early 1980s.” Notably, had she reported it, it is unclear that anything would have happened because, like many assaults of female passengers on flights, little to nothing is done even now.

And in 2005, Trump assaulted a young woman who worked as a receptionist in one of Trump’s buildings, kissing her “directly on the mouth.” The young woman immediately called her sister; the sister, who grew up in a small town of only 1,600 people, said she was “naïve” enough to hope that the kiss had been accidental, but that the victim had assured her it was intentional. Days later, Trump tracked her down and demanded her phone number. She acquiesced and did not report anything because she, too, was terrified of what Trump might be able to do to her if she reported, particularly because her workplace was in his building.

Trump has committed criminal violations
Taken together, these stories show a pattern of sexual assault in each of the three decades spanning the 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s. If we add in Trump’s conduct with regard to the women who were subject to his control via the beauty pageants he owned until 2015, it seems safe to assume we reach the present decade as well. These assaults create more than the civil liability Trump faced in the civil lawsuits we’ve reviewed over the past week.

These assaults constitute criminal violations. Although definitions vary slightly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the basic federal one will more than suffice. “Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.” So unwanted kissing, unwanted thigh grabbing, unwanted fondling, unwanted pussy grabbing – that is all assault.

The statute of limitations – how long after the assault happens that criminal charges must be brought – varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Some are only 5 years, but some have no limitation at all. Therefore, however much Trump supporters may view Hillary as a “crook” despite the fact that countless years of investigations have yielded nothing that is actually a crime, it seems that there may be actual criminal violations here.


If any investigation is going to yield evidence of criminally-prosecutable violations of a Presidential candidate, it’s investigations into Trump’s pattern of serial sexual assaults.


Put another way, we’re just beginning to learn about the true scope of Trump’s misconduct – misconduct which he bragged about only to (understandably) disavow the truth of it later. If any investigation is going to yield evidence of criminally-prosecutable violations of a Presidential candidate, it’s investigations into Trump’s pattern of serial sexual assaults.

Katherine Kimpel

Katherine Kimpel

Kate Kimpel is the Senior Editor of Shattering the Ceiling and is also an accomplished civil rights lawyer. She represents women and people of color in discrimination cases (and other kinds of employment and civil rights matters).  When not lawyering, she likely is bragging about her hound dog Ulysses, inventing cocktails to serve at her next dinner party, or convincing her husband to watch reruns of a Joss Whedon television show (any of them will do). 

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