On Thursday, a New England woman came forward to accuse Senator Al Franken of trying to forcibly kiss her when she was serving as an elected official, bringing the total number of allegations against the Minnesota Democrat to six.
The latest allegation followed Army veteran Stephanie Kemplin's accusation that Franken groped her breast during a USO tour photo op. Minutes after CNN published Keplin's account, Jezebel reported Franken allegedly tried to give an unnamed former elected official a "wet, open-mouthed kiss" during an event in 2006. Franken, a host on radio station Air America at the time, reportedly invited the official to a live taping of his show in front of an audience at a large theater. Franken allegedly tried to kiss her in front of the audience after the interview.
“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 told Jezebel. "It was onstage in front of a full theater... It was insidious. It was in plain sight and yet nobody saw it."
The woman told Jezebel she was left "stunned and incredulous" at what went down, and felt "demeaned" and "put in my place." Franken hasn't publicly addressed the allegation.
The latest accusation echoes similar behavior five other women claim they've witnessed from the former comedian over the years. Franken has been accused of groping multiple women during photo ops and trying to kiss radio host Leeann Tweeden without her permission. Although he apologized to Tweeden for the 2006 incident, he said he didn't remember forcibly kissing her, and his apologies to the additional accusers have grown increasingly lukewarm since. He's gone on to ask for an ethics investigation into his own alleged sexual impropriety.
On Monday, Franken returned to the Senate after a brief leave, saying he has "been trying to take responsibility by apologizing" to his accusers. According to NPR, Franken said he's not considering to step down from congress, despite calls for his resignation by President Trump and a prominent member of his own party.
The announcement came as pressure mounts from within Congress for Democratic representative John Conyers to resign over allegations he sexually harassed several of his staffers. Meanwhile, Republican representative Joe Barton just announced he'd be retiring following reports that he sent nude photos to women, and Republican lawmakers have threatened to oust Alabama Republican Roy Moore from the Senate if he's elected in December. Moore, who's currently leading in the polls, has been accused of molesting a 14-year-old and preying on several other teenage girls.
The recent allegations follow CNN's report of a congressional "creep list" that women who work on the Hill have compiled of men who are known for inappropriate sexual behavior, adding further proof that becoming a top lawmaker seems like a sexual predator's dream job.
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