Franken Faces Another Groping Allegation, Now From an Army Veteran

Al Franken / Getty Images
• November 30, 2017 6:07 pm


Another woman on Thursday accused Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.) of groping her, and more Democrats have called for the comedian-turned-lawmaker to resign.

Stephanie Kemplin is an army veteran who claims Franken touched her inappropriately during a USO tour in 2003, CNN reported. Kemplin is the second woman to accuse Franken of groping on a USO trip, and her story is one of several that involves Franken using a photo-op to place his hands on a woman’s private parts.

"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."

Franken was a comedian and writer at the time and Kemplin was serving in the Middle East when Franken visited her on the USO tour. The first accusation against Franken also came from a USO tour, when he was photographed with his hands over fellow performer Leann Tweeden’s breasts.

"I remember clenching up and how you just feel yourself flushed," Kemplin said. "And I remember thinking—is he going to move his hand? Was it an accident? Was he going to move his hand? He never moved his hand."

"It was long enough that he should have known if it was an accident," she added. "I'm very confident saying that."

A spokesman for Franken denied that he did this intentionally and called for the ethics investigation to proceed.

"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," the spokesperson said. "He remains fully committed to cooperating with the ethics investigation."

Now more voices in the Democratic Party are calling for Franken to resign after he has failed to adequately rebut or even deny these allegations.

"I think it’s time for Sen. Franken to go," Rep. Joe Crowley (D., N.Y.) told Politico.

He joined Democrats Rep. Kathleen Rice (N.Y.) and Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio) in calling for Franken to step down. No Democratic senators have followed suit, and some such as Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) have praised Franken's handling of the matter.

Rep. John Conyers (D., Mich.) has been accused of various instances of sexual harassment, and he has both denied the charges and countered by pointing the finger at Franken. The fact that Conyers has faced more calls for his resignation than Franken has—including from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.)—has led some of Conyers' supporters to charge racial bias.

Conyers' lawyer said Pelosi has to "explain what the discernible difference between Congressman Conyers and Sen. Al Franken is."