Kemplin, 41, of OH, is the fifth woman to come forward with claims against the now Minnesota senator, and the second to allege the inappropriate behavior took place during a USO tour. "I just feel so sorry for that young girl in that picture".
Kemplin said she's "confident" the alleged inappropriate touching was not an accident. Three other women say Franken groped their buttocks while posing for photos with them. She said that Franken insisted on rehearsing the kiss, and when she refused, he allegedly "put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth". The two were set to appear in a sketch for a USO show for military members overseas at the time.
She said that although the taping was in front of a large audience, no one noticed the kiss.
"I reached out my hand to shake his" after the interview, she said. "It was insidious. It was in plain sight and yet nobody saw it".
Franken's comedic past was discussed when he first ran for Senate. "And the truth is, what people think of me in light of this is far less important than what people think of women who continue to come forward to tell their stories".More news: Father of murder victim detonates grenades in Ukraine court, leaving two dead
He subsequently released a longer statement, which reiterated that he didn't remember the skit in the same way as Tweeden but admitted that it was "obvious how Leann would feel violated by that picture". "I said, wait a minute, this rings a bell".
Lee writes that Kemplin repeatedly started crying when describing the pain of the incident, saying she was too shocked and embarrassed at the time to say anything.
The former elected official tells us that while she's long admired Franken's politics, she made a decision to talk about the incident to encourage him to accept responsibility for his actions.
"My intent in coming forward is not to negate the good work he's done or smear his name", she told Jezebel.
I learned that campaigns have their own rules, their own laws of physics, and that if I wasn't willing to accept that, I would never get to be a senator.