Merlin
Woman says Franken inappropriately touched her in 2010
Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:33am
24.228.93.156

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/20/politics/al-franken-inappropriate-touch-2010/index.html



A woman says Sen. Al Franken inappropriately touched her in 2010, telling CNN that he grabbed her buttocks while taking a photo at the Minnesota State Fair.

It is the first allegation of improper touching by Franken, who is a Democrat, while he was in office. It comes just days after Leeann Tweeden, a local radio news anchor in California, said that Franken forcibly kissed and groped her in 2006, when Franken was a comedian.

Franken has since issued an apology to Tweeden and faces a potential investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee.

Lindsay Menz, a 33-year-old woman who now lives in Frisco, Texas, reached out to CNN on Thursday hours after Tweeden made her story public. Menz said she wanted to share an "uncomfortable" interaction that left her feeling "gross."

According to Menz, she attended the Minnesota State Fair with her husband and father in the summer of 2010, almost two years after Franken was elected to the Senate. Her father's small business was sponsoring a local radio booth, and she spent the day meeting various elected officials, political candidates and celebrities and taking photos with them as they stopped by the booth.

When Franken walked in, Menz and her husband, who also spoke with CNN, said they recognized him right away. Menz said she had a brief and cordial exchange with the senator.


Then, as her husband held up her phone and got ready to snap a photo of the two of them, Franken "pulled me in really close, like awkward close, and as my husband took the picture, he put his hand full-fledged on my rear," Menz said. "It was wrapped tightly around my butt cheek."

"It wasn't around my waist. It wasn't around my hip or side. It was definitely on my butt," she said, recalling that the brazen act lasted three or four seconds. "I was like, oh my God, what's happening."

"He reached around her and kind of pulled her into him," said her husband Jeremy Menz, who didn't see what happened behind his wife. "He pulled her in and pushed his head against her head. It was over pretty quick."

Lindsay Menz told CNN that she walked away as soon as the photo was taken, without saying anything to the then-first term senator. When she reconnected with her husband moments later, she told him: "He totally grabbed my butt." Jeremy Menz described that conversation the same way to CNN.

In a statement to CNN Sunday, Franken said he did not remember taking the photo with Menz and that he felt "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 said. "I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected."

"I felt gross. It'd be like being walking through the mall and some random person grabbing your butt," Lindsay Menz said. "You just feel gross. Like ew, I want to wash that off of me."
"I was upset. I wasn't happy about it in the least," Jeremy Menz said. "He was already gone and I wasn't going to confront him. But yeah -- I was in shock, really."

Menz's father, Mark Brown, was also in the radio booth that day but didn't witness the moment. But he told CNN that his daughter told him about the incident right away.

Menz's mother, Jodi Brown, also told CNN that she discussed the incident with her daughter immediately after it happened. She said she distinctly recalls her son-in-law saying to her: "Our senator just groped my wife right in front of me."

In the photo of Menz and Franken, the side of the senator's face is pressed up against Menz's but the lower halves of their bodies are not shown. Both of them are smiling.
Menz posted the photo with Franken on Facebook at the time, on August 27, 2010. Her sister, Cari Thunker, commented under the photo: "Sorry, but you two aren't Bibles (sic) width apart" -- a reference, Thunker explained to CNN, to how physically close Menz and Franken were in the photo.

Menz responded to her sister on Facebook: "Dude -- Al Franken TOTALLY molested me! Creeper!" (The exchange is visible to Menz's Facebook friends.)

Minnesota statutes state that "intentional touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the buttocks" is not considered criminal sexual conduct.

Menz told CNN that what happened immediately after she took the photo with Franken that summer day in 2010 has also stayed with her. Standing nearby was another politician -- then-Minnesota Rep. John Kline.

As she was getting ready to take a picture with Kline, Menz said the congressman asked her whether they should "mutually put our arms around each other" -- an interaction that struck her as being in stark contrast with what she had experienced moments ago with Franken.

Reached on the phone on Friday, Kline, a Republican who retired from Congress this year, confirmed that he attended the Minnesota State Fair in 2010, as he did most years. Kline could not remember seeing the interaction between Menz and Franken. But when CNN described Menz's recollection of her interaction with Kline before they took a photo together, he told CNN: "As a matter of practice, I did that all the time."

"If somebody wanted a picture, I would ask: should I put my arm on your back or your shoulder?" Kline said. He said that as a congressman, he was particularly inclined to do this when taking photos with women.

Lindsay and Jeremy Menz moved from Minnesota to Texas in 2014. Lindsay Menz is now a stay-at-home-mom of three young kids. Neither is registered with a political party and she said she has equally supported Republican and Democratic candidates while he said he has tended to favor Republicans. The couple voted last year for Donald Trump, and Menz said she has voted for Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who is a Democrat, in the past. Menz said she believes she has voted for Franken as well, but is not sure.

When Menz saw the news of Tweeden's allegations against Franken on Thursday, she immediately discussed her own run-in with the senator from 2010 with her family. She also posted about it on Twitter and Facebook.

A friend encouraged Menz to contact a CNN reporter after seeing the network's coverage of sexual harassment in recent days. 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 has not made further statements to the press since releasing two apologies on Thursday. He has said he intends to fully cooperate if there is a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into his behavior.

"I respect women. I don't respect men who don't. And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed," he said in a statement. "I understand why we need to listen to and believe women's experiences."

The other shoe has dropped, and I am thinking there are plenty more shoes where that one came from.

    • The central issue, I think....wondering, Wed Nov 22 12:43pm
      is that women don't appreciate being treated like a piece of meat, at least those who have some sense of self-respect. A lot of men don't seem to get that. But when it is obvious that a woman doesn't ... more
    • There's no way of knowing, really. I have hugged someone and accidentally brushed them somewhere awkward without doing so on purpose. That said, if he actually did squeeze her, that's unlikely... more
      • I think her tawdry posing nearly naked PH👙💄EY, Wed Nov 22 1:40pm
        In numerous mag rags says she has few cards to play. Now that she is wrinkled and sagging, no one will squeeze any of her. Is there an airbrush that can put Lumpty Humpty back on her bar stool?
        • You are REALLY on a roll today, eh? That's blatantlySia☺giah, Wed Nov 22 10:55pm
          sexist CRAP. Are you BEGGING to be slapped ??
          • BackpfeifengesichtMerlin, Thu Nov 23 8:28am
          • She did it for MONEYPH💰💰EY, Wed Nov 22 11:10pm
            She was the sexist the minute she SOLD her body to a magazine. It's not like she was wearing clothes. And the purpose is to create arousal. Okay, now tame the savage beast her ilk unleashed.
          • Oh, this one does have her clothes on. PH😳😳EY, Wed Nov 22 11:17pm
            My mistake. She looks like a nice girl. Should have spoken up at the time of the alledged squeeze. Why now?
            • by other women speaking out, and she wanted to thank them for their courage and encourage other victims to speak out to protect everyone from future such incidents committed by Franken and enyone... more
              • Not to me, actuallyTruthteller, Sat Nov 25 3:21pm
                Very early in my career, I was groped and subjected to verbal harassment from my 76 year-old attorney boss. I was 19. At first, I shrugged off the verbal harassment, but the day it got physical (he... more
                • Please accept my apology.PH💋💋EY, Sat Nov 25 8:05pm
                  While I had a momentary hot flash at some of your commentary, I can see you have great integrity. You did what the cowards and gold diggers fail to do in the moment. Bless you. And I have been... more
                  • It is NOT as easy as she's made it sound.Sia☺giah, Sun Nov 26 1:34am
                    MANY victims are major "breadwinners" for their families. To quit would take food out of their mouths. In cases like that, people put up with a helluva lot more than they might want to put up with.... more
                    • En Contraire (sp)PH😳😳EY, Sun Nov 26 7:12pm
                      I got the picture. She did the right thing. And it was difficult for many reasons not fully described. Conditioning the male with conflicting messages begins at a early age. I blame our culture. I... more
                    • My quitting nearly made us homeless...Truthteller, Sun Nov 26 12:46pm
                      but my husband agreed that there was no way I could work for that man anymore. He was a large man for his age and I feared that next, he would rape me. The main reason we didn't become homeless was... more
              • Yes, that manta seems to work.PH👹👹EY, Thu Nov 23 9:15am
                They all "feel encouraged." FEEL! How about not feeling? How about thinking? How about thinking about the wrecked lives that are far far more morally appalling than a squeeze and a grope that caused... more
                • I have no sympathy for perverts of ANY typeTruthteller, Sat Nov 25 3:22pm
                  and they have NO business working around anyone they feel they have the right to manhandle. Maybe if more of these scum lose their jobs, they'll learn to keep their hands to themselves and their... more
                  • Hysterical or what😀PH🌽🌽EY, Sat Nov 25 5:24pm
                    I promise I won't grope you. Keep your boobs in yo blouse!
                    • Enough.Poppet, Sat Nov 25 6:28pm
                      Knock this shit off...now.
                • Normally your posts are simply disconnected from reality and unintentionally amusing. This is another matter entirely.
                • CLEARLY, you are part of the problem.Sia☺giah, Sat Nov 25 12:56am
                  Therefore, I expect nothing but claptrap BLATHER from you on this issue. Having never BEEN a woman, you obviously have NO CLUE how demeaning your words are or how humiliating it is for women to... more
                  • When I was a kidPH💋💄👗EY, Sat Nov 25 12:04pm
                    I recall that access to "dirty magazines" was not an easy endeavor. We kids knew the corner grocery store hid this somewhere behind the counter. Let's go back to that. Let's put clothes back on these ... more
      • I Think A Mistake Is Very UnlikelyMerlin, Tue Nov 21 3:47pm
        LIS to Amadeus: What She Described in Telling of the Incident Then, as her husband held up her phone and got ready to snap a photo of the two of them, Franken "pulled me in really close, like awkward ... more
        • If he pulled her in close rather quickly, I was thinking that it was possible that he inadvertently grasped the wrong place? IDK. I'm trying to figure out HOW he yanked her in close AND grabbed her... more
          • Franken was playing, Menz wasn't. Pikes, Wed Nov 22 10:41am
            I totally see it as a photo op improv for a picture Franken thought would be talked about for years. But not in this way! The man is an actor. For many, in public means in character, role playing.... more
          • and asked a young woman I bumped into to help me resolve this conundrum. We exhaustively tried out the various scenarios, and finally both agreed that he first grabbed her by the waist and pulled her ... more
            • THEN proceeded to "grab ass", then HOW did she manage to smile normally like she did? It doesn't make sense to me that he did that and she was smiling normally like that.
              • It takes only a fraction of a second to snap the photo once you press the button.
                • Granted. I get it. The surprise PH👀EY, Thu Nov 23 9:25am
                  while her hubby snaps the pic. But SHE let the moment slip away. She failed to simply say "Al, you old pervert, keep your hands to yourself." "And thanks for posing with me." No, these sad creatures... more
              • Oh, I know....PH☃☃EY, Wed Nov 22 11:02pm
                She was in "shock." LOLs..... Did she ever ask for an apology from him prior to going pubic?
        • He may have thought, "Photo op with Al Franken." So he made it juvenile. That would be consistent with the tendency. I know when I take people's pictures with those smart phone cameras, I am never... more
          • I don't see anything hammy about smiling like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth while getting a handful of an unsuspecting woman's butt cheek while her unaware husband snaps a photo. I'll not be... more
            • Perhaps my perspective is offPikes, Tue Nov 21 11:46pm
              Didn't Menz' hubby take the photo of them? I can see a Franken personality grabbing a butt for that photo op as a joke. A very poor taste joke. Thinking they might show it off forever- the famous Al... more
              • Yeah, I can relate to your post.PH😳😳EY, Thu Nov 23 9:48am
                In what now seems like another lifetime, I had many experiences within the circles of high culture and finance. I could write a book....Young, Pretty, and Felt Up. And could "feel encouraged" but for ... more
              • A very poor taste joke? Merlin, Wed Nov 22 8:11am
                Franken was lucky that her husband didn't put his fist in his face right then and there. If that was Franken's idea of a joke, he doesn't belong even on SNL, never mind the Senate. ;-)
                • Poor judgment, I agreePikes, Wed Nov 22 10:28am
                  There'a a juvenile quality to the man. Trump too. But this is Franken. Some of the Menz fallout now may be another kind of fist in the face. From the "now that that's come up" vault. Hopefully it... more
                  • He is insecure.PH🤓🤓EY, Sat Nov 25 5:31pm
                    His entire personality is one predicated upon self-doubt and low self-esteem. It's a facade. I don't care if he gropes tarts. But he ought to leave out the housewives🙃
    • Two is a direction, and establishes a patternPikes, Mon Nov 20 11:47am
      Who does this? What is the motivation? Timing remains suspicious. But does celebrity invite unwanted or inappropriate familiarity? How many strange women's butts have you grabbed? Me? Easy. None. A... more
      • I do not pat anyone's ass PH☃☃EY, Sat Nov 25 5:34pm
        Except my own....with a towel to dry off. Now it's been years since anyone patted mine. Old age is hell!
      • In the Immortal Words of Auric GoldfigerMerlin, Mon Nov 20 12:27pm
        "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action." Perhaps it is a issue of proxemics. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxemics Usually, I think, the distances are set by... more