A woman has accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of groping her at a dinner party in 1999.
Moira Smith, a former Truman Scholar and now vice president and general counsel to Enstar Natural Gas Company, said that Thomas repeatedly grabbed and squeezed her buttocks as she was preparing for the dinner, according to a report in The National Law Journal. Smith was 24 at the time.
Smith wrote a Facebook post detailing her account of the incident on October 7. Her account has since been deactivated.
“At the age of 24, I found out I’d be attending a dinner at my boss’s house with Justice Clarence Thomas,” Smith wrote, per Politico. “… But to my complete shock, he groped me while I was setting the table, suggesting I should sit ‘right next to him.’”
While Smith was setting the table, Thomas "sort of cupped his hand around my butt and pulled me pretty close to him,“ she told The National Law Journal. Smith demurred about sitting next to Thomas, and "that was the end of it.”
Three of Smith’s former roommates confirmed to The National Law Journal that they remembered Smith discussing the inappropriate contact after she came home from the dinner. Smith’s ex-husband also confirmed to The National Law Journal that he “definitely remembered” Smith discussing the incident.
Thomas, for his part, told The National Law Journal that Smith’s claim is “preposterous,” and that the episode “never happened.”
Anita Hill, a law professor, previously accused Thomas of sexual assault during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991. Thomas was eventually confirmed by the Senate 52 to 48.
Hill has called for a new investigation into Smith’s allegations.
“To say that something like this is coming for political gains—and of course that was an allegation that was directed at me—is undermined by the fact that 16 years before, she went to friends and told people. So this is not something that she’s told for the first time at this point, this is something that people knew and they seem to be confirming,” Hill told The National Law Journal.