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Senator accused of sexual misconduct to make statement as female colleagues demand resignation

A number of his Democrat colleagues have said he should step down as soon as possible.

Sportscaster Leeann Tweeden and Democrat Senator Al Franken.
Sportscaster Leeann Tweeden and Democrat Senator Al Franken.
Image: PA

FEMALE SENATORS ARE calling on fellow Democratic Senator Al Franken to resign after allegations of misconduct were made against him.

In Facebook posts and tweets, the women said the two-term senator should step aside after a fresh allegation that he forcibly tried to kiss a woman in 2006.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand wrote on Facebook that while Franken is entitled to have the Ethics Committee conclude its review, she believes “it would be better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn’t acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve”.

Senators Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Patty Murray of Washington state and Claire McCaskill of Missouri joined Gillibrand in pressing for Franken to quit.

Franken is facing other allegations that he groped women.

And in the face of calls from within his own party to step aside, Franken this evening announced that he is to make a statement tomorrow.

Franken had apologised after a Los Angeles radio anchor accused him of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour.

Leeann Tweeden also accused Franken of posing for a photo with his hands on her breasts as she slept, while both were performing for military personnel two years before the one-time comedian was elected to the Senate.

Tweeden posted the allegations, including the photo, on the website of KABC, where she works as a news anchor for a morning radio show.

Tweeden said today that Franken was persistent, and “every time I see him now, my hands clench into fists”.

Still, she said she has no reason not to accept his apology, and is not calling for an ethics investigation or for Franken to resign. She told a news conference in Los Angeles that she came forward hoping to inspire others to tell their stories.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called the allegations “troubling” and said he hopes and expects that the Senate Ethics Committee will investigate.

“Sexual harassment is never acceptable and must not be tolerated,” Schumer said.

Read: US senator and former comedian accused of kissing and groping woman without consent >

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Associated Press

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