The accusations against Sen. Al Franken for sexual misconduct like groping, both during his time in the Senate and during USO tours, are piling up following Franken’s return to the Senate earlier this week. A sixth accuser, a former elected official in New England, has stepped forward to say Franken attempted to give her a “wet, open-mouthed kiss” onstage during an event in 2006 — about a year before his Senate run — an experience that left her “stunned and incredulous.”
The woman did not wish to be named. “I want my name associated with my own accomplishments,” she told Jezebel, “and not publicly linked to a man’s bad behavior.”
According to her account, Franken came to her community for a live taping in front of an office of his former radio show on the defunct progressive radio station Air America. The woman, the chair of her town’s Selectboard, was invited to appear on the show:
After the interview, the woman tells us, “I reached out my hand to shake his.” Then, she says, “He took it and leaned toward me with his mouth open. I turned my head away from him and he landed a wet, open-mouthed kiss awkwardly on my cheek.”
The woman says she was in disbelief. “I was stunned and incredulous. I felt demeaned. I felt put in my place.” She says, too, that although they were in an extremely public place, no one noticed: “It was onstage in front of a full theater… It was insidious. It was in plain sight and yet nobody saw it.”
The woman said that she’s long been an admirer of Franken’s politics and doesn’t have an agenda outside of wanting Franken to accept responsibility for his behavior, and she believes his other accusers’ accounts.
“My intent in coming forward is not to negate the good work he’s done or smear his name,” she added. “I want him to take personal responsibility for his actions, learn from this, not repeat the behavior, and go forward with respect in all his interactions with women.”
Franken has not yet publicly commented on this latest allegation but has previously apologized while saying he did not remember specific behavior or if more accusations will surface.