Embattled Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has now been accused by two more women of grabbing their backsides in two separate incidents that both occurred roughly ten years ago, with the new accusers becoming the third and fourth women to allege sexual misconduct on Franken’s part.
Both of the new accusers described Franken touching them inappropriately during political events, and both spoke under condition of anonymity for fear of online and real-world reprisal, Huffington Post reported on Wednesday.
“My story is eerily similar to Lindsay Menz’s story,” said the first woman, referring to Franken’s second accuser who told a story of Franken groping her at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair. “He grabbed my buttocks during a photo op.”
She claimed that Franken touched her rear while they posed for a photo in June 2007 after an event hosted by the Minnesota Women’s Political Caucus in Minneapolis.
The second woman also claimed that Franken had put his hand on her butt, but she went on to allege Franken of propositioning her to visit a bathroom together.
“My immediate reaction was disgust,” she said. “But my secondary reaction was disappointment. I was excited to be there and to meet him. And so to have that happen really deflated me. It felt like: ‘Is this really the person who is going to be in a position of power to represent our community?’”
In a statement made to the outlet, Franken claimed that his memory was fuzzy in certain areas but clear in others.
“It’s difficult to respond to anonymous accusers, and I don’t remember those campaign events,” he said, adding in response to the second woman’s allegations: “I can categorically say that I did not proposition anyone to join me in any bathroom.”
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have scrambled to distance themselves from Franken in the wake of the scandal, in turn calling for an ethics investigation into his behavior and pledging to donate campaign funds raised on behalf of his PAC to various other causes.