A fourth woman has accused former Sen. Al Franken of groping her buttocks, New York magazine reported Monday. She is now the ninth woman to accuse him of unwanted touching or kissing, and steps forward just as Franken is attempting to come back into public life with a talk show appearance and plans to host a radio show on SiriusXM.
The woman, reportedly a high-level staffer at a major progressive organization, did not reveal her name in her account to New York magazine for fear of irreparably damaging her career. She told the outlet that she encountered Franken in 2006, when she was working the phone line at an event for Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, of Washington state.
She accused Franken of grabbing her butt while the two posed for a photo. “He’s telling the photographer, ‘Take another one. I think I blinked. Take another one,’” the woman recalled. “And I’m just frozen. It’s so violating. And then he gives me a little squeeze on my buttock, and I am bright red. I don’t say anything at the time, but I felt deeply, deeply uncomfortable.”
"I would have sworn that I’d never done anything to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but it’s clear that I must have been doing something."
Franken represented Minnesota as a Democrat until resigning from the Senate in December 2017, after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct. Three of those accusers described him touching their butt.
“Two years ago, I would have sworn that I’d never done anything to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but it’s clear that I must have been doing something,” Franken told New York magazine. “As I’ve said before, I feel terrible that anyone came away from an interaction with me feeling bad.”
After the allegations against Franken first surfaced, the woman told three people about her account. New York magazine spoke with all three.
“This created a moment of reflection on like, ‘Who the hell do you think you are?’” the accuser recalled. “There is something that tells men that they, particularly those who have a lot of power, that they have access to my body in some way that is based on the hierarchy of the organization that we’re working in or society or whatever it is. My anger wasn’t directed toward him. It was more like, How audacious am I to think I could do anything? It rocked my confidence.”
Cover: Al Franken attends a Senate hearing on May 8, 2017, just months before he would step down over accusations of sexual misconduct. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)