A former Capitol Hill staffer has brought forward a new allegation of improper behavior by former Minnesota U.S. Sen. Al Franken, telling New York magazine that he touched her inappropriately in 2006, two years before he was elected.
The anonymous allegation came as Franken returns to the public eye. His weekly show debuted Saturday on SiriusXM and a speaking tour begins Wednesday with a sold-out appearance in Portland, Ore.
Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, resigned from the Senate in 2017 after several women accused him of unwanted groping or kissing.
The woman’s story is part of a compilation of the magazine’s interviews with 25 people who described their #MeToo experiences.
She said that Franken grabbed her buttocks while they posed for a photo. She called the episode “so violating” and said she felt “deeply, deeply uncomfortable.” The magazine said it interviewed three individuals she confided in after the earlier claims involving Franken.
“Two years ago, I would have sworn that I’d never done anything to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but it’s clear that I must have been doing something,” Franken told New York magazine. “As I’ve said before, I feel terrible that anyone came away from an interaction with me feeling bad.”
The woman said she didn’t come forward earlier or reveal her name because she believed that future employers would label her a troublemaker.
She is identified as a military veteran who is a senior staffer at a major progressive group. At the time of the alleged incident, she was working for U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. Murray was among Democratic senators who urged him to resign two years ago.
Murray’s office and Franken’s spokesman did not respond Monday to Star Tribune requests for comment.
During an appearance Thursday on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” Franken said that since the original allegations, “I’ve been a lot more mindful in my interactions with pretty much everyone.”
He explained that he stepped down because of pressure from fellow Democrats and added that he believes he should have gotten “due process” before his departure.
“People who know me know I’m not that guy,” he said.