Leslie Millwee, who accused Bill Clinton this week of sexually assaulting her in 1980, said she came forward now because she was enabled by a change in societal attitudes toward women and sexual assault.
"Something that I really want young people to understand is how much things have changed," Millwee told BuzzFeed News.
Sexual harassment "was part of the culture then," said Milwee, who first revealed details of the alleged incidents to Breitbart. "Women were really second-class citizens. It was just a different time."
Millwee alleges that when she was a 20-year-old reporter at the now-defunct KLMN-TV in Arkansas, Bill Clinton — then Arkansas's governor — sexually assaulted her in the work place on three separate occasions.
Millwee told BuzzFeed News she supports Donald Trump for president and that she has strong opinions on immigration and Barack Obama that are in line with Trump's platform — but she insisted that the motivation was mainly personal and not political.
"It took me about a year to decide to do this, long before Trump was even on the radar as a candidate," she said. (Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015.)
The final straw, she said, was watching allegations of sexual assault against Trump "make headlines every second of every day." She said she wanted to "be just a small part to get the media to hold the Clintons accountable."
Millwee interviewed and worked with Clinton frequently during her time as a reporter. She says that Bill Clinton approached Millwee three times while she was alone in a small editing room she worked in, and touched her shoulders and breasts.
During last two incidents, Millwee says Clinton rubbed his genitals against her neck until he orgasmed, keeping her in place so that she couldn't leave. Each of the assaults occurred in the same room, she said, over the period of about a month.
Millwee decided to quit her job when, about a day after the last assault, she says Clinton showed up at the door of her home "pounding on it for five or ten minutes" calling her name and asking to be let in. Millwee said she and her grandmother stayed silent inside until he went away.
"My grandma was very old fashioned and she said, 'You can tell [your boss], you can tell the station manager, but you're a young girl and he's the governor,'" she said.
She said she was scared that reporting him would impact her career and that it would be "embarrassing to explain." When she mentioned the encounter in a book she wrote in 2011 called You Can't Make This Stuff Up!, she left out the more graphic elements for a similar reason, and so that the book could be read by people of all ages or "in church."
She told BuzzFeed News that now, "the timing is perfect."
Part of Milwee's motivation to speak out was "of course" related to the election, she said. She believes Hillary Clinton "knowing about and enabling" Bill's actions with women reflects negatively on her "moral compass."
Millwee initially thought of bringing her story to the public during Bill Clinton's 1998 scandal with Monica Lewinsky, but after seeing the way Lewinsky was treated, she decided against it. "I had young children at the time, and I wasn't yet ready," she said.
When asked if she thought that many of the women accusing Trump of assault decades ago also felt they were now able to speak up due to changing attitudes toward women and sexual assault, she brushed off the questions, calling the timing of their allegations "suspicious."
Millwee also mentioned that when she briefly met Trump during Wednesday night's debate — he invited her — he seemed like a "sweet, loving, man." She did not say whether she believed the allegations against him.
Ema O'Connor is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Ema O'Connor at email@example.com.
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