A second woman has come forward with allegations of sexual harassment by Senator Al Franken.
Lindsay Menz of Texas says she attended the 2010 Minnesota State Fair to support her father’s business, and spent the day taking pictures with prominent local figures. One of those figures was Franken. According to Lindsay and her husband Jeremy, Franken pulled Lindsay close for the picture. While Jeremy says he couldn’t see what happened, Lindsay claims that Franken “pulled me in really close, like awkward close” and “put his hand full-fledged on my rear. It was wrapped tightly around my butt cheek.”
The claims have resulted in renewed calls for the senator’s resignation, as this incident occurred while Franken was in office. (The first woman, Leeann Tweeden, produced a photo of Franken groping her while she was unconscious during a USO tour in 2006, when Franken was performing as a comedian.)
CNN reports that immediately after the picture of Menz and Franken at the state fair was posted to Facebook, Menz commented, saying, “Dude — Al Franken TOTALLY molested me! Creeper!”
Franken made this statement to CNN:
I take thousands of photos at the state fair surrounded by hundreds of people, and I certainly don’t remember taking this picture. I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.
In a telling part of CNN’s article, Menz says she would not have come forward if Tweeden had not done so first. She says she is not trying to depict what happened to her in the same light as what happened to Tweeden:
Menz was emphatic that she “absolutely” would not have decided to share her story had Tweeden not done the same. “I don’t want to paint my story in the same light as hers,” Menz said, saying she believes what happened to Tweeden is much worse. Still, she said, “the reason I want to say something is if someone sees that I said something, maybe it would give them the courage to say something too.”
Franken wrote in his apology to Tweeden, “I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate.”
Read Shane Ryan’s take on the meaninglessness of public apologies like Franken’s here.