MINNEAPOLIS — Two women are alleging that Minnesota Democratic US Senator Al Franken touched their buttocks during events for his first campaign for Senate, bringing the number of women leveling charges against the lawmaker to four.
The women spoke to Huffington Post on condition of anonymity, in an article published late Wednesday. The women said the events occurred in Minneapolis in 2007 and 2008.
The website said neither women was aware of the others’ story, but both had been recounting the incidents privately for years.
The first woman said Franken, 66, grabbed her buttocks during an event hosted by the Minnesota Women’s Political Caucus, where she had performed in a choir. Two other people who were present corroborated the account to the news site.
“I saw him and asked if we could take a photo together for my mother, and we stood next to each other … and down his hand went,” the woman said.
The second woman said Franken grabbed her buttocks at a campaign event.
“I shook his hand, and he put his arm around my waist and held it there,” she said. “Then he moved it lower and cupped my butt.”
Franken said in a statement, “It’s difficult to respond to anonymous accusers, and I don’t remember those campaign events.”
Last week, Franken was accused of forcibly kissing Los Angeles radio host Leeann Tweeden while rehearsing for a 2006 USO tour. Franken also was photographed with his hands over her breasts as she slept. He has apologized to Tweeden, and she has accepted the apology.
A second woman, Lindsay Menz, came forward this week alleging Franken grabbed her buttocks during a photo op at the Minnesota State Fair.
He told CNN he didn’t remember taking the photo with Menz, but said in a statement to the network that he feels badly that she felt disrespected.
“I take thousands of photos at the state fair surrounded by hundreds of people, and I certainly don’t remember taking this picture,” Franken told CNN. “I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called for an ethics investigation of Franken, which Franken says he supports.
The Jewish former comedian is the latest public figure to be caught in the deluge of accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct nationwide.
A handful of colleagues from the Democratic party have called for him to resign, and those calls will likely multiply with the new accusers coming forward.
Franken canceled a sold-out book festival appearance scheduled for Monday in Atlanta to speak and promote his book, “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate.” He hasn’t appeared in public since Tweeden’s allegation.