A Fifth Woman Has Accused Al Franken Of Sexual Misconduct
An Army veteran has accused Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) of groping her while she was deployed overseas in 2003, making the fifth sexual assault claim against him by a woman in recent weeks.
Stephanie Kemplin, 41, of Maineville, Ohio, told CNN that she was posing with the then-comedian for a photo in Kuwait, where he was visiting troops with the USO, when he cupped her breast.
“When he put his arm around me, he groped my right breast. He kept his hand all the way over on my breast,” she told CNN in a report published Thursday. “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.”
Kemplin, who was 27 and a military police officer at the time, said she was a longtime fan of “Saturday Night Live,” which Franken was a writer and performer on, and said she was immediately “embarrassed” by what happened.
The veteran is also the victim of sexual assault in the military – a big reason she told me the recent Franken news has been so tough to take. https://t.co/nYfenlPrhK
— MJ Lee (@mj_lee) November 30, 2017
She said she first wondered if his hand placement was an accident, but “he never moved his hand.”
“You’re immediately put on the spot. What are you going to do? What are you going to do? Your mind goes a mile a minute,” she said of her reaction. “Who was I going to tell?”
Kemplin said she shifted her body before the photo of them was taken so that his hand would fall off of her breast. A photo of them released by CNN shows neither of Franken’s hands on her chest at the time.
Kemplin said she later told her sister and an ex-boyfriend about what happened but she doesn’t remember telling any fellow soldiers because she felt ashamed and didn’t have any particularly close peers to confide in.
Two women recently told HuffPost, anonymously, that Franken touched their butts in separate incidents. Last week, Minnesota woman Lindsay Menz accused Franken of inappropriately touching her while posing for a photo in 2010. Prior to that, radio host Leeann Tweeden accused him of groping her and kissing her without her consent during a 2006 USO tour.
A photo taken of Tweeden during that tour shows Franken pretending to grab both of her breasts while she was sleeping.
A spokesperson for Franken’s office declined to comment Thursday on the specific allegations brought by Kemplin.
“As Sen. Franken made clear this week, he takes thousands of photos and has met tens of thousands of people and he has never intentionally engaged in this kind of conduct. He remains fully committed to cooperating with the ethics investigation,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
This story has been updated with more details of the allegation and a statement from Franken’s office.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.