Republican gubernatorial candidate Jon Grunseth is accused in sworn affidavits of encouraging four girls aged 13 to 16 to join him for a nude swim at a 1981 pool party, it was reported today.
The statements were made by Liane Nelson, now 23 and a social worker dealing with sexual abuse cases in the Boston area, and her cousin Elizabeth Mulay, 22, of San Jose, the Star Tribune reported today.
The two women said Grunseth also encouraged his daughter Nina to swim in the nude at the Fourth of July party at his home.
Nina Grunseth denied the charges in her own affidavit, and her father said supporters of Democratic Gov. Rudy Perpich were trying to blackmail him into dropping his campaign.
“I regard this as an absolute outrage,” Grunseth told the newspaper. “But what is going on here, I’m convinced beyond any doubt, is a creation of the Perpich camp.”
Nelson, 14 at the time of the party, said she decided to speak out nine years later because she believes there was sexual impropriety.
“I think that is extremely inappropriate behavior for someone who wants to be governor,” she told the newspaper.
According to the affidavits from Nelson and Mulay, two other teen-age girls in the pool, including Nina Grunseth, removed their swimsuits at Grunseth’s urging. Grunseth and one or more of his adult male friends also took off their suits, Nelson and Mulay said.
“He suggested we all take our swimsuits off,” Mulay said. “My cousin and I were adamant about not taking them off. . . . At one point, (Grunseth) cornered me in the pool. I tried to swim by, but he blocked me in.”
Mulay said Grunseth at one point tried to touch one of her breasts.
“I became afraid and swam under his arms and got away. I was very angry and got right out of the pool,” her statement said.
Grunseth, who was 35 at the time and a businessman, described his 1981 party as a well-attended, wholesome event.
Perpich said he had no previous knowledge of the allegations.
“I’ve had no part in it,” Perpich said.