Top Democrats tell Al Franken to QUIT as more victims come forward to accuse senator of groping and forced wet kisses before he ran for office
- On Thursday, two more women spoke out to accuse Minnesota Sen. Al Franken of sexual misconduct - bringing the total accusers to six
- The fifth accuser is 41-year-old Army veteran Stephanie Kemplin
- She says Franken grabbed her breast while the two posed for a picture at a USO event in Kuwait in December 2003?
- A little less than two hours after that story was published, a second encounter came to light from a former New England elected official?
- The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, says Franken forcibly kissed her on the cheek during a live taping of his radio show in the spring of 2006
- Two senior Democrats in the House said it was time for Franken to quit, suggesting his political days are drawing to an end?
Al Franken was bluntly told to go by two senior Democratic figures on Thursday hours after two more women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct on Thursday - bringing the total accusers to six women.?
The new accusers include an Army veteran who says Franken grabbed her breast during a USO tour in 2003, and a former New England elected official who says the then-radio host forcibly kissed her on the cheek in 2006.
Both allegations occurred before Franken ran for public office in 2007. ?
Franken, currently the junior senator from Minnesota, has refused to step down in the wake of the allegations, but apologized for all those he had hurt in a press conference on Monday.
Now he is facing the first call to quit from senior figures in his own party with Joe Crowley, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus telling Politico: 'I think it's time for Senator Franken to go.'
A fifth woman has come out to accuse Sen. Al Franken of groping. Stephanie Kemplin, left, says Franken groped her during this picture in 2003, during a USO tour event in Kuwait
The congressman was asked about Franken and John Conyers, the 88-year-old longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, who is accused by a series of women of harassment and unwanted touching.
'In my opinion I think it’s time for John to resign. And I think under the circumstances, given the new revelations about the senator as well, I think it’s time for both of them to go,' he said.
Tim Ryan, a Democratic house member from Ohio seen as a rising star in the party also tweeted that he should go, saying: 'Conyers should resign. And for that matter, Franken should resign too. These are credible allegations, and I believe these women.'
The move by Crowley and Ryan suggests the waters may be close to closing over Franken's political career.?Franken has not responded to the two most recent allegations.
The latest accusation comes from a former New England elected official, who told her story to Jezebel and asked to remain anonymous.
She said Franken came to her town in the spring of 2006 to hold a live tapping of his progressive radio show Air America, and invited her, an elected official on the town's Selectboard, to take part.
At the end of the interview, she says Franken went to shake her hand and then pulled her in a forcibly kissed her.
'I reached out my hand to shake his...He took it and leaned toward me with his mouth open. I turned my head away from him and he landed a wet, open-mouthed kiss awkwardly on my cheek,' she said.
She says she was dumbstruck by the move, one that was made so boldy in front of a large audience.
'I was stunned and incredulous. I felt demeaned. I felt put in my place.
'It was onstage in front of a full theater... It was insidious. It was in plain sight and yet nobody saw it,' she said.
When other women started coming forward with similar stories of Franken, she says she had a bad case of dejavu.
'The other women’s accounts of him grabbing their buttocks in front of their mothers and husbands, I believe them,' she said.
Shortly after the incident, the woman told her sister and a friend about the encounter. Both corroborated her story to Jezebel.
The woman says she's speaking out because she wants Franken to take responsibility for his actions.
'I know that I've let a lot of people down,' said Minnesota Sen. Al Franken said in a press conference on Monday?
'My intent in coming forward is not to negate the good work he’s done or smear his name,' she told us. 'I want him to take personal responsibility for his actions, learn from this, not repeat the behavior, and go forward with respect in all his interactions with women.'
The woman's friend said she is liberal, and is not part of some right-wing conspiracy to bring the senator down.
'We don’t have an agenda to bring this guy down and we didn’t at the time,' she said.
About two hours before Jezebel published their story, CNN released a new report from an Army veteran who says Franken groped her in 2003.??
Stephanie Kemplin, 41, says she attended a USO tour event in Kuwait featuring the then-comedian in December of that year.?After the show, the Ohio resident waited in line to get a picture with Franken because she was a big fan of Saturday Night Live growing up.?
But when it came her turn to pose with the funnyman, she says he reached around and grabbed her breast.??
'When he put his arm around me, he groped my right breast. He kept his hand all the way over on my breast,' Kemplin, who was 27 at the time, told CNN. 'I've never had a man put their arm around me and then cup my breast. So he was holding my breast on the side.'
Kemplin said the touching lasted for five to 10 seconds, before she turned her body to move his hand off her breast.?
'I remember clenching up and how you just feel yourself flushed,' she said. 'And 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.'
THE SIX WOMEN WHO HAVE SPOKEN OUT AGAINST FRANKEN?
The 41-year-old Army vet says Franken grabbed her breast when the two posed for a photo at a USO event in Kuwait in December 2003. Kemplin is a registered Republican who voted for Trump in the presidential election.
Anonymous former New England elected official
A former chair of a New England town's Selectboard says she was invited to take part in a live taping of Franken's radio show in the spring of 2006. After her interview, she says Franken shook her hand, pulled her close and then forcibly kissed her on the cheek. She says she has long admired Franken's politics, so her coming forward is not politically motivated.
The Los Angeles radio news anchor says Franken forcibly kissed her with tongue and then 'jokingly' groped her breasts on a USO tour in 2006.
Anonymous 38-year-old book editor
This Franken accuser says she met Franken at the Minnesota Women's Political Caucus in June 2007 and that he grabbed her butt while the two took a photo at the event. She describes herself as liberal.
This accuser says she was 21 years old in 2008 when she met Franken at a Democratic fundraiser in Minneapolis. She says Franken grabbed her butt and later suggested that the two visit the bathroom together.
Stay-at-home mom Lindsey Menz says Franken grabbed her butt as her husband took a picture of her and the senator at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010. She described herself as a Republican who voted for Trump in the presidential election. However, she has voted for Democrats including Minnesota's senior Sen. Amy Klobuchar. She can't remember if she voted for Franken, but believes she did. She now lives in Texas.
She added: 'It was long enough that he should have known if it was an accident. I'm very confident saying that.'
The photo, which Kemplin shared with CNN, shows her smiling awkwardly, her body turned in towards Franken and her cheek pressed up against his face.
Kemplin says she doesn't remember telling any of her fellow soldiers about the incident, but she did tell multiple members of her family and her ex-boyfriend, who she started dating after the two returned from the Middle East.?
CNN interviewed Kemplin's sister and the ex-boyfriend and they told the outlet what they remembered of the incident.?
'I just remember her telling me that he grabbed her breast and that she was so shocked about it,' her older sister said . 'My sister is pretty bold and assertive and she said that she didn't know what to do.'
Her ex-boyfriend says he doesn't remember all of the details of the Fraknen encounter, but says he does remember his ex saying 'he went to put his arm around her and copped a feel'.?
Kemplin said she thinks what Franken did is especially heinous considering her work serving her country.?
'I was in a war zone... You were on a USO tour -- are you trying to boost the morale of the troops or are you trying to boost your own?' she said. 'I just feel so sorry for that young girl in that picture.'
Kemplin also revealed that she was sexually assaulted by a fellow solider just months before her run-in with Franken. She says the assault happened when she was sharing a tent with a specialist.?
The Army investigated and determined that the specialist had engaged in 'totally inappropriate behavior' but was not guilty of 'indecent assault'. Kemplin says she was told that she was 'responsible' for the encounter for letting the man get close to her.??
'I was really pissed off. It was not right,' Chambers said. 'My reaction was: when is it ever the victim's fault?'
Kemplin is the fifth woman to come forward with such allegations against Franken, the junior senator from Minnesota and a high-profile democrat. She now works as a Medicaid investigator and says she's a registered Republican who voted for Donald Trump during the election. ?
On Monday, Franken apologized for his behavior but said he would not be stepping down. He said he will cooperate with an ethics investigation.???
'I am going to try to learn from my mistakes,' the Minnesota Democratic senator told reporters at the Capitol in his first televised press conference since the allegations came to light.
Kemplin was the second woman to accuse Fraken of groping her during a USO tour, before he went into politics. ?
Leann Tweeden (pictured), spoke out about an incident involving Franken that happened in 2006. Tweeden accused Franken of forcibly kissing her and putting his hands on her breasts
Three of the accusers said that Franken grabbed their buttocks while taking photos with them during campaign events.
Franken told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he doesn't remember the photos, but such groping is 'not something I would intentionally do.'
The first woman to come forward was Los Angeles radio news anchor Leeann Tweeden.
She released a photo this month showing the then-comedian Franken grinning while reaching out as if to grope her breasts as she slept on a military aircraft during a USO tour in 2006.
Franken told Minnesota Public Radio on Sunday the photo was 'inexcusable', but he declined to explain it further.
'What my intention was doesn't matter. What matters is that I am chained to that photo,' Franken said.
'She ... didn't have any ability to consent. She had every right to feel violated by that photo. I have apologized to her and I was very grateful that she accepted my apology.'
Tweeden said Franken also forcibly kissed her while rehearsing for a USO performance, but Franken has said he has a different recollection of the rehearsal.
Another woman, Lindsay Menz, alleges Franken pulled her in closely and squeezed her buttocks while they posed for a photo at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010.
On Sunday Franken told WCCO in Minneapolis he had no intention of stepping down
Two other women, speaking anonymously to The Huffington Post, said Franken grabbed their buttocks during political events in 2007 and 2008, during his first Senate campaign.
'I don't remember these photographs. I don't,' he said Sunday, estimating he has taken 'tens of thousands' of photos with other people over the years. 'This is not something I would intentionally do.'
Franken faces a Senate ethics investigation - which he welcomed in the wake of Tweeden's allegation - though it's unclear when that review may begin. Franken, who hasn't faced widespread calls to resign, said he will fully cooperate.
Franken sidestepped questions on Sunday about whether the allegations would make him less effective in the Senate. He noted he has apologized to women who have felt disrespected and 'to everyone I have let down.'
'I think this will take some time,' he told Minnesota Public Radio. 'I am trying to handle this in a way that adds to an important conversation. And to be a better public servant and a better man. That is what my goal is.'?
Franken came to the Senate after a months-long recount gave him a 312-vote victory in his 2008 election. He immediately tried to distance himself from his decades of professional comedy, which included off-color jokes about rape and disparaging women. He also avoided national reporters.
Dozens of women who've worked with Franken, including former Senate staffers and women who worked with him on NBC's 'Saturday Night Live,' signed statements supporting Franken following Tweeden's allegations.?
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