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Sen. Al Franken issued an apology on Thursday for having “crossed a line” in some encounters with women he has met, a day after two more women accused him of groping them.
The two unidentified women told HuffPo on Wednesday that the Democrat touched their buttocks while posing for a photo and at a fundraiser during his 2008 campaign for Senate. The second woman also said he propositioned her to join him the bathroom.
“My immediate reaction was disgust,” the second woman told HuffPo. “But my secondary reaction was disappointment.”
In his original statement to HuffPo on Wednesday, Franken said, “It’s difficult to respond to anonymous accusers, and I don’t remember those campaign events.” He did, however, categorically deny ever asking a woman to join him in a bathroom.
But in a statement to the Minnesota Star Tribune on Thursday, Franken went further, acknowledging his behavior had crossed a line for “too many” women :
I’ve met tens of thousands of people and taken thousands of photographs, often in crowded and chaotic situations. I’m a warm person; I hug people. I’ve learned from recent stories that in some of those encounters, I crossed a line for some women — and I know that any number is too many.
Some women have found my greetings or embraces for a hug or photo inappropriate, and I respect their feelings about that. I’ve thought a lot in recent days about how that could happen, and recognize that I need to be much more careful and sensitive in these situations. I feel terribly that I’ve made some women feel badly and for that I am so sorry, and I want to make sure that never happens again.
And let me say again to Minnesotans that I’m sorry for putting them through this and I’m committed to regaining their trust.”
Those claims came in the wake of two other recent allegations, as well as a shocking photograph.
On Nov. 16, radio anchor Leeann Tweeden wrote in a blog post about Franken sexually harassing and forcibly kissing her in 2006 while the two were on a USO tour to perform for troops in the Middle East. She also shared a photo of him pretending to grope her while she was asleep.
Another woman, Lindsay Menz, then came forward with her story in a tweet last Thursday, detailing an incident in which Franken allegedly grabbed her butt while she posed for a photo with him in 2010 at the Minnesota State Fair.