(JTA) — Two more women have come forward accusing Sen. Al Franken of sexual impropriety, including a second woman who said he groped her while the then-comedian was on a USO tour to entertain American troops.
Stephanie Kemplin, 41, of Maineville, Ohio, is an Army veteran who said Franken cupped her breast during a photo op in Kuwait in December 2003, CNN reported Thursday.
“When he put his arm around me, he groped my right breast. He kept his hand all the way over on my breast,” Kemplin said in an interview. “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.”
She said the incident made her feel “embarrassed.” Kemplin said she moved so his hand changed position before the photo.
Meanwhile, also Thursday, an unnamed former elected official in New England told Jezebel that Franken attempted to give her a “wet, open-mouthed kiss” onstage at an event in 2006 as part of his Air America radio show, shortly before he ran for Senate. The woman was a guest in a live taping of his show. She told Jezebel the encounter left her “stunned and incredulous.”
The two accusations bring to six the number of woman in two weeks to allege inappropriate behavior by the Minnesota Democrat.
Two unnamed women came forward to the Huffington Post last week to accuse Franken of touching their buttocks during campaign events in Minneapolis in 2007 and 2008, the lawmaker’s first campaign for the Senate. Also, Lindsay Menz, 33, said recently that Franken grabbed her buttocks while they took a photo together at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010; Franken said he does not remember the photo.
The first public accusation against Franken was made by Leeann Tweeden, a Los Angeles-based news anchor and former model, who said earlier this month that Franken groped her during a 2006 tour to entertain U.S. troops in the Middle East. Franken was a comedian and a writer at the time; he has served as a senator since 2009. Franken has apologized to Tweeden.
Franken has returned to work in Washington, D.C., telling reporters he would not resign from the Senate, despite being ashamed of the sexual harassment allegations against him.
“I’m going to do my job and I’m going to go forward,” he told Minnesota Public Radio. “I’m going to take responsibility. I’m going to be held accountable and I’m going to try to be productive in the way I speak about this.”
The allegations against Franken are part of a series of sexual assault complaints against prominent American men in the entertainment, sports, political and media worlds.