Several women who are former staffers for embattled Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) have come forward to defend their ex-boss in the wake of allegations made by radio host Leeann Tweeden that he groped her while she was asleep and kissed her without her consent, The Hill reports.
Ex-Employees Step Up for Franken
In a statement released Friday, the seven women said:
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“Many of us spent years working for Senator Franken in Minnesota and Washington. In our time working for the senator, he treated us with the utmost respect.”
In the statement, Katherine Blauvelt, Alexandra Fetissoff, Jessi Held, Natalie Violin Lehr, Karen Saxe, Charlotte Slaiman, and Bethany Snider wrote that Franken supported women in a number of ways.
“He valued our work and our opinions and was a champion for women in both the legislation he supported and in promoting women to leadership roles in our offices,” the women said.
Their statement comes just a day after Tweeden’s accusations. She also released a photo as evidence.
Franken Calls For An Investigation — On Himself
Remarkably, Franken is calling for an ethics investigation into his own behavior and has apologized for the incident.
“I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences,” he said. “I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate.”
Gee, I wonder when serial pedophile and GOP Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore is going to ask for this? Probably not anytime soon, I’ll wager. After all, he stands accused of sexual misconduct with a girl who was only 14 at the time and allegedly locked a 16-year-old girl in his car in an attempt to force her to perform oral sex on him, according to USA Today.
“I thought he was going to rape me,” said Beverly Nelson Young. She said that Moore grabbed her by the neck and “attempted to force my head into his crotch.”
“I was twisting and I was begging him to stop. At some point, he gave up.”
Then Moore gave her a warning:
“And he looked at me and told me ‘You’re just a child, and I’m the district attorney. If you tell anyone about this, no one will ever believe you.”
Moore was the assistant district attorney in Gadsden, Alabama from 1977 to 1982.
Fortunately, more and more victims are coming forward to tell their stories, and a number of men in prominent positions stand accused of sexual misconduct. I am glad the victims have shown this bravery because it empowers others to come forward. What these men have done, Al Franken included is awful, and something constructive must come out of this.
Franken appears to be trying to come to terms with the enormity of what he did, but too many of the accused, like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, have done little to explain their actions. Spacey, for the most part, has been making excuses.
I am only one person, and like the majority of women, I’ve also been harassed, but this means I don’t know what the answer is when it comes to preventing men from doing these things in the future.
I do think it boils down to this: At the very earliest age, as soon as a child is old enough to understand this, boys need to be taught that girls are to be treated with respect. And boys need to be treated with respect. If boys are taught that girls are their equals and girls are taught the same thing about boys and that demeaning a person for any reason is wrong, we might be on the right track.
But that’s just my opinion.
Franken apologizes in the video below.
Featured image by ABC News via YouTube video