Local veteran who says Sen. Franken groped her: 'I didn't know w - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Local veteran who says Sen. Franken groped her: 'I didn't know what to do'

Provided Provided
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

After 14 years, local Army Veteran Stephanie Kemplin is breaking her silence to say she was groped by Senator Al Franken.

Five women have accused Franken of inappropriate touching. Kemplin says after she heard a similar story about him, she knew she couldn't remain quiet.

Kemplin shared photos with FOX19 NOW from 2003, while she was deployed in Kuwait. During a USO tour, she was able to meet Franken.

"I was a big Saturday Night Live fan, so I was really excited to meet him. I went to pose for the picture with him, and so naturally we put our arms around each other, but then I felt his hand on my breast and I thought, 'Does he know that he's touching me?'" said Kemplin.

She says his hand stayed there for at least five seconds, so she turned her body to move his fingers.

"I just remember getting really embarrassed and feeling the heat of being flushed -- and I didn't know what to do, I just froze," she said.

She says she didn't tell anyone about the incident because she was already dealing with a lot of scrutiny from a recent assault by a soldier in her unit.

"I didn't have anyone to tell. My only female friend over there who was assaulted with me. They became very mean to me. And so I didn't have anyone to confide in," said Kemplin.

She says she put it in the back of her mind and tried to forget it until she saw a recent tweet from Leeann Tweeden. The broadcaster said Franken groped her during a USO tour.

"All those memories just came back and I thought he did this to me, too," said Kemplin.

Franken released a statement apologizing to the women who recently accused him of sexual harassment and to any others he had offended, but Kemplin says no one from his office has reached out to her.

"I don't feel he's given a genuine apology -- everything has come off as very scripted," Kemplin said.

She said it's been difficult reliving what happened 14 years ago, but in order to heal and to set an example for her daughter, she knew it was a secret she could no longer keep.

"I teach her to tell mommy if somebody touches her inappropriately if she's ever bullied, and that even if you don't have the courage to say something in the moment that you can say something later no matter how many days, no matter how many months or how many years that is OK. And I hope I'm being a good role model for her," said Kemplin.

Franken faces a potential investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee and he has said he will fully cooperate with the probe.

Copyright 2017 WXIX. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly