UPDATE: A fifth woman has accused Senator Al Franken of groping, according to CNN. Stephanie Kemplin claims that Franken groped her breast while she was stationed in the Middle East during the Iraq War. “I remember thinking –is he going to move his hand? Was it an accident? Was he going to move his hand? He never moved his hand,” she told CNN.
A spokesperson for Franken responded, “As Sen. Franken made clear this week, he takes thousands of photos and has met tens of thousands of people and he has never intentionally engaged in this kind of conduct. He remains fully committed to cooperating with the ethics investigation.”
A second woman has come forward alleging Minnesota Senator Al Franken groped her. Lindsay Menz claims Franken grabbed her butt while they posed for a photograph together at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010.
Menz told CNN that Franken allegedly “pulled me in really close, like awkward close, and as my husband took the picture, he put his hand full-fledged on my rear. It was wrapped tightly around my butt cheek.” Afterward, she said, “I felt gross. It’d be like being walking through the mall and some random person grabbing your butt … You just feel gross. Like ew, I want to wash that off of me.”
Menz claims she told her husband, father and mother about the incident immediately after, which took place two years after Franken was elected to the Senate. Franken told CNN he had no recollection of the incident, but said he felt “badly” that Menz felt disrespected during their encounter.
“I take thousands of photos at the state fair surrounded by hundreds of people, and I certainly don’t remember taking this picture,” Franken told CNN. “I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.” A rep for Franken did not reply to a request for comment for more information.
Menz contacted CNN last Thursday to share her story. She said she felt compelled to speak out after KABC reporter Leeann Tweeden accused Franken of forcibly kissing and groping her during a USO tour in 2006. Tweeden shared a photo of Franken grinning at the camera with his hands over her breasts as she slept.
Tweeden claimed Franken “put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth” during rehearsals for a skit that included a kiss between their two characters. After, she wrote, “All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth. I felt disgusted and violated.”
The incident took place before the photograph of Franken touching her was taken on their flight back to the U.S. Tweeden said she wasn’t aware it happened until she was looking through the official photographs from the trip. Seeing the picture, she wrote, “I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.”
Over the weekend, video emerged of Franken and Tweeden’s skit.
The Al Franken/Leann Tweeden USO Tour Skit. You decide. Does this support Leann’s claim? pic.twitter.com/1c4CNR1dqf
— Liddle Covfefe ? of Shade (@PromoteMyCause) November 18, 2017
Franken issued two separate apologies last week for his behavior on the USO tour. He initially downplayed the incident, telling reporters, “I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann. As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”
After a swift backlash, Franken issued a second, lengthier apology in which he echoed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s calls for a formal ethics investigation. Tweeden said she accepted his apology.
On Twitter, President Trump, who has remained silent on the accusations against the Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore — accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl, sexually assaulting a 16-year-old and pressuring a number of other teen girls for dates while he was in his thirties — wrote the photograph of Franken and Tweeden “is really bad, speaks a thousand words.” More than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct.