Al Franken Accused of Groping Female Army Officer on 2003 USO Tour

Stephanie Kemplin becomes fifth woman to accuse the Minnesota senator of misconduct

Al Franken
Getty Images

A U.S. Army veteran has accused Sen. Al Franken (D – Minnesota) of groping her during a 2003 USO tour, the fifth woman to claim that the former “SNL” star behaven inappropriately.

Stephanie Kemplin, a 41-year-old Ohio resident, told CNN in a report published Thursday that the incident happened during a photo-op while she was stationed in the Middle East as an Army officer.

“When he put his arm around me, he groped my right breast. He kept his hand all the way over on my breast,” Kemplin told 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.”

Kemplin says she was “embarrassed” by the touching, which she said lasted between five and 10 seconds. “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,” she said, saying that she shifted her body so that Franken’s hand was no longer on her breast when the photo was snapped.

A rep for Franken did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But one of the senator’s spokespeople told CNN: “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.”

Franken, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008, has faced multiple accusations of groping in recent weeks. His case will move internally to a secretive and lengthy hearing before the Senate Ethics Committee. Franken has promised his full cooperation with the panel.