Lindsay Menz, a 33-year-old woman who now lives in Frisco, Texas, says Senator Al Franken inappropriately touched her in 2010 at the Minnesota State Fair while taking a picture.
According to Menz, she attended the 2010 Minnesota State Fair with her husband and father, almost two years after Franken was elected to the Senate. Her father’s small business was sponsoring a local radio booth, so Lindsay spent the day meeting various elected officials, political candidates and celebrities and taking photos with them as they stopped by the booth.
Menz claims that while her husband was taking a picture of the two, 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 she wanted to share the “uncomfortable” interaction that left her feeling “gross.”
She posted the photo with Franken on Facebook on August 27, 2010. After a comment from her sister,
Menz responded by saying: “Dude — Al Franken TOTALLY molested me! Creeper!”
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,” Menz said.
“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.”
On Sunday, Franken released a statement to CNN, saying 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.”
Now a stay-at-home-mom of three children, Lindsay and her husband moved from Minnesota to Texas in 2014. Menz 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.”
Menz’s father, Mark Brown, said he didn’t witness the moment but said that Lindsay 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.”
The allegations from Menz come days after Leeann Tweeden, a local radio news anchor in California said that Franken forcibly kissed and groped her in 2006. Tweeden provided a picture of the incident.
Following Tweeden’s allegations, Franken issued an apology and called for an investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee. In his original statement, Franken 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. I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences,” the statement read.