- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 2, 2003

SAN DIEGO — Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “California Comeback Express” hit a bump in the road yesterday with an acknowledgment by that he had once “behaved badly” toward women in his movie career, and now he is “deeply sorry.”

Mr. Schwarzenegger responded to a story in the Los Angeles Times detailing accusations that he had groped and harassed women over 30 yearsin Hollywood as a champion bodybuilder and movie star. Some of the accusations are nearly 30 years old.

The newspaper said its story was the result of a seven-week investigation that turned up six women who accused Mr. Schwarzenegger of touching their breasts and buttocks and making inappropriate sexual overtures in incidents that stretched from the mid-1970s to 2000.

At the second campaign stop of the day in Orange County, south of Los Angeles, Gail Kay said she made a “spontaneous decision” to attend the event to tell reporters about her run-in with Mr. Schwarzenegger in 1976.

When she was 16 years old, she said Mr. Schwarzenegger approached her and a friend and said, “I’m going to rape both of you tonight.”

Asked why she came forward yesterday when the incident took place 27 years ago, when Mr. Schwarzenegger was 29, the woman answered, “Why not?”

“I am here because of what happened to me personally,” said Miss Kay, who was brought to the event by members of AFL-CIO unions who staged an anti-Schwarzenegger protest. “I don’t want my son growing up believing that people like that can run my state.”

Mr. Schwarzenegger, who offered a straightforward apology for past behavior, said he had been expecting “trash politics” as part of the campaign to recall California Gov. Gray Davis entered its final week.

Campaign spokesman Todd Harris scoffed at motives behind the accusations. “These specific allegations in the Los Angeles Times and now these ridiculous allegations from these union leaders that came forward at the behest of her labor union to try to stir the pot more, this has Democrat and union fingerprints all over it,” he said.

Mr. Schwarzenegger told a crowd of about 600 supporters in the San Diego Convention Hall, “I know that the people of California can see through this trash politics.”

Though some of the accusations were not true, he said that “where there is smoke, there is fire.”

“So what I want to say to you is that, yes, I have behaved badly sometimes,” Mr. Schwarzenegger said. “Yes, it is true, that I have been on rowdy movie sets, and that I have done things that at the time I thought demonstrated affection. But now I recognize that I have offended people.

“To those people that I have offended, I want to say to them that I am deeply sorry about that, and I apologize.”

He told those in the crowd — many of whom were holding signs saying, “Remarkable Women Vote for Arnold” — that he “will be a governor for the women and a champion for the women. I hope you give me a chance to do that.”

Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, the only prominent Democrat on Tuesday’s ballot, mentioned the accusations at a campaign event yesterday, suggesting that Mr. Schwarzenegger may have violated the state code against harassment.

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