A woman accused Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, of groping her during a photo-op in Minnesota in 2010, two years after the former comedian and radio show host was voted into the U.S. Senate, CNN reported on Monday.
Lindsay Menz, now 33, told CNN that she was posing for a photo with Franken at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair when the senator "pulled me in really close, like awkward close, and as my husband took the picture, (Franken) put his hand full-fledged on my rear."
She said the “uncomfortable” incident left her feeling “gross.”
"It wasn't around my waist. It wasn't around my hip or side. It was definitely on my butt," she told CNN. "I was like, 'Oh my God, what's happening?'"
A woman tells CNN that Al Franken grabbed her buttocks while she was taking a photo with the sitting US senator in 2010. Franken says he doesn’t remember the photo and feels “badly” that she felt disrespected. https://t.co/MlOuFCqKai pic.twitter.com/yHTbGR34gC— CNN (@CNN) November 20, 2017
In a statement to CNN, Franken said that he felt "badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected," but he said he didn't remember taking the photo with her.
Menz came forward in the wake of allegations against Franken made by Los Angeles news anchor Leeann Tweeden. In a blog post for KABC, Tweeden wrote that Franken, who was a radio host for Air America at the time, forced himself on her as they were practicing a skit he wrote for the tour.
I’ve decided it’s time to tell my story. #MeToohttps://t.co/TqTgfvzkZg— Leeann Tweeden (@LeeannTweeden) November 16, 2017
Franken has since apologized for the incident.
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“I felt disgusted and violated,” Tweeden wrote. “No one saw what happened backstage. I didn’t tell the sergeant major of the Army, who was the sponsor of the tour. I didn’t tell our USO rep what happened.”
She said she focused on entertaining the troops and didn’t speak up because she “didn’t want to cause trouble.”
“We were in the middle of a war zone, it was the first show of our holiday tour, I was a professional and I could take care of myself,” she wrote. “I told a few of the others on the tour what Franken had done, and they knew how I felt about it.”
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Franken called for an investigation into the 2006 incident after apologizing to Tweeden in a statement last week.
"The truth is, what people think of me in light of this is far less important than what people think of women who continue to come forward to tell their stories," Franken said. "They deserve to be heard, and believed. And they deserve to know that I am their ally and supporter. I have let them down and am committed to making it up to them.”
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com