Fifth Woman, an Army Vet, Accuses Franken of Groping Her

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Posted: Nov 30, 2017 8:21 AM
Fifth Woman, an Army Vet, Accuses Franken of Groping Her

An Army veteran has come forward accusing Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) of groping her in 2003.

Stephanie Kemplin, 41, says Franken, at the time a comedian, inappropriately touched her while she was deployed in Kuwait. He was there on a USO tour.

In recalling the incident to CNN, the veteran repeatedly said she was embarrassed by what happened during a photo opp with Franken.

"When he put his arm around me, he groped my right breast. He kept his hand all the way over on my breast," she 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."

"I remember clenching up and how you just feel yourself flushed," she 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."

She continued: "It was long enough that he should have known if it was an accident. I'm very confident saying that."

In a photo shared with CNN, Kemplin -- who was 27 at the time and a military police officer -- is smiling widely with the left side of her face pressed against Franken's right cheek. Franken's right arm is wrapped around Kemplin's back and his hand is on her side at chest-level, and does not appear to be on her breast in the photo.

Looking back at the picture, Kemplin said she recalls feeling frozen and numb: "I did not process it in those split seconds."

A Franken spokesperson told CNN Wednesday night: "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. He remains fully committed to cooperating with the ethics investigation." (CNN)

Franken, who has issued multiple apologies, acknowledged in an interview with Minnesota Public Radio that he didn’t know if more women would come forward.

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"If you had said to me two weeks ago that a woman was going to say I had made her uncomfortable and disrespected her and one of these ways I would have said no. This has been a shock to me. And so I don't know, I can't say," Franken said. "Obviously I've felt that women I've taken these photos with, that some women have said that I crossed the line, and for that I'm very sorry. And any number is too many."

"I don't remember these photographs, I don't," he added. "This is not something I would intentionally do," noting that he's posed for "tens of thousands of photos."