- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 30, 2017

Two more women came forward on Thursday to accuse Sen. Al Franken of inappropriate conduct as the Minnesota Democrat fights for his political life.

One woman, a former elected official in New England, spoke to Jezebel about the incident on the condition of anonymity. She said Mr. Franken attempted to give her a “wet, open-mouthed kiss” after a live taping of his radio show in 2006. The encounter left her “stunned and incredulous.”

After the show, she said, “I reached out my hand to shake his.” Then, “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’s the sixth woman to accuse Mr. Franken of inappropriate behavior in two weeks. Three of the six women have been identified by name.

Earlier on Thursday, a fifth woman, Stephanie Kemplin, said Mr. Franken groped her breast during a photo-op on a USO tour in 2003.

“When he put his arm around me, he groped my right breast,” Ms. Kemplin, an Army veteran, told CNN. “He kept his hand all the way over on my breast. 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.”

Ms. Kemplin estimated the touching lasted between five and 10 seconds before she readjusted her body and shook off Mr. Franken’s hand.

“It was long enough that he should have known if it was an accident,” she said. “I’m very confident saying that.”

In a photograph provided to CNN, Ms. Kemplin, who was 27 at the time, is leaning in closely and has the side of her head pressed against Mr. Franken’s cheek. His arm is wrapped around her back and his hand is at chest level, but does not appear to be touching her breast in the photo.

Ms. Kemplin repeatedly broke into sobs while telling the story, CNN reported.

“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.”

At the time, Ms. Kemplin said she discussed the incident with several family members, including her older sister, as well as an ex-boyfriend, both of whom remembered hearing about the story.

“I just remember her telling me that he grabbed her breast and that she was so shocked about it,” Amy Muddiman, Ms. Kemplin’s older sister, told CNN. “My sister is pretty bold and assertive and she said that she didn’t know what to do.”

Responding to the fifth allegation, a spokesman for the senator said he “takes thousands of photos and has met tens of thousands of people and has never intentionally engaged in this kind of conduct.”

The wave of allegations against Mr. Franken began when Los Angeles radio host Leeann Tweeden, a former model, came forward with her story about being groped and forcibly kissed by Mr. Franken on a USO tour in 2006.

Ms. Tweeden published a picture of Mr. Franken appearing to grope her breasts while she was asleep.

In a press conference on Capitol Hill earlier this week, Mr. Franken was not able to say whether additional accusations against him would emerge.

“If you had asked me two weeks ago, would any woman come forward with an allegation like this, I would have said no,” Mr. Franken said. “And so I cannot speculate.”


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