With all the focus currently on Matt Lauer, previous stories of sexual misconduct, harassment, and assault are falling by the wayside.
However, a new accuser has stepped forward, breathing new life into one of those previous stories an army veteran is accusing Sen. Al Franken of groping her in 2003.
Stephanie Kemplin, 41, of Maineville, Ohio, is the fifth woman in two weeks to accuse Franken of inappropriate touching, and the second person to allege that such behavior took place while Franken was on a USO tour. Three of the five women have been identified by name.
Kemplin said while she was stationed in the Middle East during the Iraq War, she met Franken — at the time, a comedian and writer — as he was visiting American troops with the USO. A longtime fan of “Saturday Night Live,” Kemplin got in line to take a photo with Franken.
CNN has the story of Kemplin, who said she was embarrassed over the incident.
“When he put his arm around me, he groped my right breast. He kept his hand all the way over on my breast,” Kemplin said in an interview. “I’ve never had a man put their arm around me and then cup my breast. So he was holding my breast on the side.”
Kemplin repeatedly used the word “embarrassed” to describe her immediate reaction at the time.
“I remember clenching up and how you just feel yourself flushed,” she said. “And I remember thinking — is he going to move his hand? Was it an accident? Was he going to move his hand? He never moved his hand.”
This is a pattern for Franken, who is proclaimed far and wide by supporters as being a “champion of women,” despite his history of groping them. Other incidents that have come to light include writing painfully awkward parts into skits, including kissing and even implied rape.
While his behavior is not on the level of, say, House counterpart John Conyers, it still denotes a disturbing trend of men in power (both in Hollywood and Washington D.C.) who take advantage of their power to do as they please with women.