WASHINGTON, D.C.– Democratic Senator Al Franken was hit with allegations Thursday of kissing and groping a woman without her consent.
Leeann Tweeden, a radio news anchor with KABC in Los Angeles, said she met Franken in December 2006 while on USO tour to entertain military members, and it was then that the sexual assault occurred.
“In December of 2006, I embarked on my ninth USO Tour to entertain our troops, my eighth to the Middle East since the 9/11 attacks. My father served in Vietnam and my then-boyfriend (and now husband, Chris) is a pilot in the Air Force, so bringing a ‘little piece of home’ to servicemembers stationed far away from their families was both my passion and my privilege,” Tweeden said in a statement (http://www.kabc.com/2017/11/16/leeann-tweeden-on-senator-al-franken/).
“(Franken) put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth,” Tweeden claims. “All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth.I felt disgusted and violated.”
In a lengthy statement, Franken admitted to the incident and said he regretted any pain it may have caused.
“The first thing I want to do is apologize: to Leeann, to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent, and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women,” the junior United States Senator from Minnesota wrote.
“I respect women. I don’t respect men who don’t,” he continued. “And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed.”
The allegations against Franken are just the latest in a series of accusations against high ranking members of the government and entertainment industries.
Over the course of the past month, Alabama Senatorial candidate Roy Moore, actor/director Woody Allen and media mogul Harvey Weinstein have been accused of sexual assault by women who claim they were too intimidated to come forward before.
Meanwhile, lawmakers from both the Republican and Democratic sides have called for an investigation into the allegations against Franken.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called the accusations “troubling” and said
“sexual harassment is never acceptable and must not be tolerated.”