Senator Franken Accused of Groping Woman While in Senate

Senator Franken had been accused of inappropriate touching before. But that was back when he was still a "comedian" and could claim it was all a joke. This one took place in 2010 when he was a Senator.

A woman says Sen. Al Franken inappropriately touched her in 2010, telling CNN that he grabbed her buttocks while taking a photo at the Minnesota State Fair.

Lindsay Menz, a 33-year-old woman who now lives in Frisco, Texas, reached out to CNN on Thursday hours after Tweeden made her story public. Menz said she wanted to share an "uncomfortable" interaction that left her feeling "gross."

According to Menz, she attended the Minnesota State Fair with her husband and father in the summer of 2010, almost two years after Franken was elected to the Senate. Her father's small business was sponsoring a local radio booth, and she spent the day meeting various elected officials, political candidates and celebrities and taking photos with them as they stopped by the booth.

When Franken walked in, Menz and her husband, who also spoke with CNN, said they recognized him right away. Menz said she had a brief and cordial exchange with the senator.

Then, as her husband held up her phone and got ready to snap a photo of the two of them, Franken "pulled me in really close, like awkward close, and as my husband took the picture, he put his hand full-fledged on my rear," Menz said. "It was wrapped tightly around my butt cheek."

"It wasn't around my waist. It wasn't around my hip or side. It was definitely on my butt," she said, recalling that the brazen act lasted three or four seconds. "I was like, oh my God, what's happening."

"He reached around her and kind of pulled her into him," said her husband Jeremy Menz, who didn't see what happened behind his wife. "He pulled her in and pushed his head against her head. It was over pretty quick."

Lindsay Menz told CNN that she walked away as soon as the photo was taken, without saying anything to the then-first term senator. When she reconnected with her husband moments later, she told him: "He totally grabbed my butt." Jeremy Menz described that conversation the same way to CNN.

Menz's father, Mark Brown, was also in the radio booth that day but didn't witness the moment. But he told CNN that his daughter told him about the incident right away.

Menz's mother, Jodi Brown, also told CNN that she discussed the incident with her daughter immediately after it happened. She said she distinctly recalls her son-in-law saying to her: "Our senator just groped my wife right in front of me."

Menz posted the photo with Franken on Facebook at the time, on August 27, 2010. Her sister, Cari Thunker, commented under the photo: "Sorry, but you two aren't Bibles (sic) width apart" -- a reference, Thunker explained to CNN, to how physically close Menz and Franken were in the photo.

Menz responded to her sister on Facebook: "Dude -- Al Franken TOTALLY molested me! Creeper!" (The exchange is visible to Menz's Facebook friends.)

So unless this was a 7 year conspiracy to get Senator Franken, it happened.

Menz told CNN that what happened immediately after she took the photo with Franken that summer day in 2010 has also stayed with her. Standing nearby was another politician -- then-Minnesota Rep. John Kline.

As she was getting ready to take a picture with Kline, Menz said the congressman asked her whether they should "mutually put our arms around each other" -- an interaction that struck her as being in stark contrast with what she had experienced moments ago with Franken.

"If somebody wanted a picture, I would ask: should I put my arm on your back or your shoulder?" Kline said. He said that as a congressman, he was particularly inclined to do this when taking photos with women.

That is basic.

But let's go back to Senator Franken for a moment. The first allegation took place during a USO tour. This one occurred while Franken was meeting and greeting locals. Aside from the general inappropriateness, Franken was taking legitimate civic events and abusing them. That's a wrongness that goes beyond the act. It's disgusting. Much like he is.
 

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