Veteran police officer and Minnesota congressional candidate Pete Stauber says the allegations against Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.) amount to "a clear pattern" of "sexual assault" and called on the embattled Democrat to step down immediately.
Franken announced on Thursday that he intends to resign from the Senate in the coming weeks amid a handful of allegations that he groped and kissed women without their permission. Stauber, who is running for the Republican nomination in Minnesota ‘s eighth district, said the announcement did not go far enough.
"For him to stay in the Senate is a distraction. His credibility is tarnished," Stauber said. "This was sexual violence against women and that isn't to be tolerated."
Stauber, who served for 23 years as a police officer, said Franken's alleged behavior amounted to sexual assault from a law enforcement perspective.
"From all the information I've seen, this was sexual assault. There's a clear pattern, he said. "We would call that behavior that of a sexual predator and I'm sure there are a lot more."
The eighth district's incumbent Democrat, Rep. Rick Nolan, said in a release that Franken made the right decision to step down, joining a chorus of Democrats in the Senate and House.
"Senator Franken has determined that he can no longer effectively represent the people of Minnesota," Nolan said in a release. "He has done the right thing for Minnesota and our Nation by stepping down."
Stauber said Franken should accelerate his departure and praised his accusers for coming forward.
"I am proud of these victims for coming forward. It takes a strong person to stand up for their rights and come out to speak publicly," he said. "What Franken did was unconscionable, uncalled for and many, many Minnesotans are disappointed."