WASHINGTON, D.C. — The second woman to accuse Democratic Senator Al Franken of sexual assault is stepping up her claims, according to published reports.
Lindsay Menz told her story to CNN on Monday, claiming that Franken groped her while posing for a photo with her at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010 (http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/20/politics/al-franken-inappropriate-touch-2010/index.html). Menz was the second woman to accuse Franken of sexual assault in less than a week, following allegations made by Los Angeles radio anchor Leeann Tweeden that Franken forcibly kissed and groped her during a 2006 tour while supporting the USO.
Menz detailed her claims after tweeting about the incident last Thursday, following Tweeden’s revelations.
“In August 2010, @alfranken grabbed me while taking a photo together at the Minnesota State Fair,” Menz tweeted last week. “I felt violated & embarassed. I 100% believe your account of him & his actions, @LeeannTweeden. Thank you for sharing your story. #metoo.”
Menz told CNN the incident occurred almost two years after Franken was elected to the Senate as she worked her father’s radio booth, meeting various elected officials, political candidates, and celebrities at the fair.
Menz says as she posed for the photo with the Minnesota Senator, Franken “pulled me in really close, like awkward close, and as my husband took the picture, he put his hand full-fledged on my rear. It was wrapped tightly around my butt cheek.”
“It wasn’t around my waist. It wasn’t around my hip or side. It was definitely on my butt,” she said. “I was like, oh my God, what’s happening.”
“I felt gross. It’d be like being walking through the mall and some random person grabbing your butt,” Menz continued. “You just feel gross. Like ew, I want to wash that off of me.”
In a statement to CNN, Franken denied the allegations but said he apologized if he made Menz feel “uncomfortable” during the encounter.
“I take thousands of photos at the state fair surrounded by hundreds of people, and I certainly don’t remember taking this picture,” Franken said. “I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.”
The allegations against Franken have led to calls for him to step down, even from some of his own party’s staunchest supporters.
“What kind of party do we want to be?” Democratic South Carolina state representative Bakari Sellers said on Friday. “The Democratic Party has to clean up their own house….And what I mean by that is its fair for me to say, as I do believe, that Al Franken should resign. I’m a Democrat saying Al Franken should resign.”