13:28, November 16 168 0

2017-11-16 13:28:09

 

Senator Al Franken accused of sexual assault by LA newscaster

Liberal senator Al Franken has been accused of sexual assault by Leeann Tweeden, a morning news anchor on TalkRadio 790 KABC in Los Angeles. In a lengthy post on the station’s website, Tweeden alleges that Franken forcibly kissed her against her will during a USO tour to Afghanistan in 2006 and then groped her breasts while she slept on the flight back to the United States.

Tweeden says that Franken, who was a comedian on “Saturday Night Live” before joining the Senate in 2008, wrote a skit for performance during the tour with other celebrities. While she had planned to emcee the show, she says Franken deliberately wrote her into the skit so he could kiss her.

“I suspected what he was after, but I figured I could turn my head at the last minute, or put my hand over his mouth, to get more laughs from the crowd,” Tweeden wrote. “On the day of the show Franken and I were alone backstage going over our lines one last time. He said to me, ‘We need to rehearse the kiss.’ I laughed and ignored him. Then he said it again… He continued to insist, and I was beginning to get uncomfortable.”

“He repeated that actors really need to rehearse everything and that we must practice the kiss. I said ‘OK’ so he would stop badgering me. We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.”

Tweeden also said Franken groped her as she slept on the flight back from the tour and provided photographic evidence.

“When our C-17 cargo plane took off from Afghanistan I immediately fell asleep, even though I was still wearing my flak vest and Kevlar helmet. It wasn’t until I was back in the US and looking through the CD of photos we were given by the [USO] photographer that I saw this,” Tweeden wrote. “I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep. I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.”

“How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?”

Franken has issued a statement about the allegation, saying he doesn’t remember the forced kiss, but apologizing for his behavior in the photo.

“I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann,” Franken told CNN. “As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”

Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California has previously stated that Congress is a “breeding ground for a hostile work environment,” and told her own story of sexual assault while serving as a young congressional staffer.

“A chief of staff held my face, kissed me, stuck his tongue in my mouth,” the California Democrat said in a YouTube video with the hashtag “#MeTooCongress.” “I know what it’s like to keep these things hidden deep inside.”

Speier has said that a Democrat and a Republican who are currently serving are both known to be serial sexual harassers, but refused to name any specific legislators.


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