10/02/2003 at 12:00 AM EDT
California gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger is facing allegations by six women who say the "Terminator" star touched them sexually without their consent on movie sets and other places over the past three decades, the Los Angeles Times reports. The allegations have come to light less than a week before the Oct. 7 recall election.
In interviews with the Times, three of the women said Schwarzenegger touched their breasts. A fourth said he reached under her skirt and grabbed her buttocks. A fifth woman said Schwarzenegger, now 56, groped her and attempted to remove her bathing suit in a hotel elevator, while a sixth said that he yanked her onto his lap and asked whether she had ever engaged in a certain sexual act. The first alleged incident took place in the 1970s; the most recent in 2000. The women spoke to the Times on the condition that their names not be revealed, the paper noted.
"Did he rape me? No," one of the women, who described a 1980 encounter in which she said Schwarzenegger touched her breast, told the newspaper. "Did he humiliate me? You bet he did."
No legal action was ever taken against Schwarzenegger by the women, the Times noted.
Schwarzenegger's campaign spokesman, Sean Walsh, denied the allegations, and told the newspaper: "We believe Democrats and others are using this to try to hurt Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign. ... We believe that this is coming so close before the election, something that discourages good, hard-working, decent people from running for office."
Walsh added that Schwarzenegger himself would not comment.
The Times noted that it did not learn of the women's allegations from Schwarzenegger's rivals in the recall race, but rather from an investigation into the candidate's behavior toward women on and off movie sets. The Times also noted that the women did not approach the newspaper about the allegations.