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Local Army veteran says politician Al Franken groped her

Sen. Al Franken (Clem Murray/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)

A local Army veteran is accusing Sen. Al Franken of groping her in December 2003 while she was deployed in Kuwait.

Stephanie Kemplin, 41, of Maineville, told CNN that the Minnesota Democrat cupped her breast during a photo op while he was on a tour for nonprofit United Service Organizations. USO provides live entertainments, such as comedians and musicians, for the U.S. Armed Force.

This is the second person to accuse Franken of this type of behavior while he was on a USO tour.

Kemplin said she was “embarrassed” immediately after the incident. The veteran said she was serving in the Middle East during the Iraq War when she met Franken, who was visiting troops as a comedian and writer. She got in line to take a photo with him.

“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 with CNN. “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.”

She said Franken cupped her breast for five to 10 seconds — long enough to know it wasn’t an accident.

“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. It was long enough that he should have known if it was an accident. I’m very confident saying that.”

A spokesman for Franken said he “remains fully committed to cooperating with the ethics investigation.” He has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least five women. The first woman to come forward about Franken was Leeann Tweeden, now a Los Angeles radio news anchor. She released a photo showing Franken grinning while reaching out as if to grope her chest while she slept on a military aircraft during a USO tour in 2006.

Franken is one in a string of men to be accused of sexual misconduct in the past few weeks. Most recently, NBC terminated “Today” co-host Matt Lauer after sexual misconduct allegations.


© 2017 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

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