Catholic League: 'Al Franken Should Resign Immediately'

By Michael W. Chapman | November 16, 2017 | 4:17pm EST
Sen. Al Franken. (YouTube)

( -- Commenting on breaking news and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) admitting that he groped a woman who was sleeping and took a picture of his actions, Cathoic League President Bill Donohue said "Franken is an admitted molester" and he "should resign immediately."

"Senator Al Franken should resign immediately," said Donohue, adding, "There is no place in public office for sexual abusers."

"If Franken were an accused priest, he would be forced to step aside, pending an investigation," said Donohue.  "Given that he is an admitted molester, he should resign."

Donohue continued, "The priest reference is particularly poignant given that he has a history of mocking priests, and indeed the entire Catholic Church, for sexual offenses. For proof, click here and here."

"If he does not step aside, the Senate is obligated to invoke all of its powers to see that he does," said Donohue.

Earlier today, California radio host Leeann Tweeden, who was part of a USO tour with Franken in December 2006, claimed that he forcibly French-kissed her during a rehearsal, which was unexpected and made her feel "disgusted and violated." Tweeden later obtained a photo taken of her while she was asleep, in which Franken apparently is groping her breasts. 

"I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time," said Tweeden about the unwanted kiss. 

"I walked away," she said.  "All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth. I felt disgusted and violated. Not long after, I performed the skit as written, carefully turning my head so he couldn’t kiss me on the lips."

The photo was taken when the group was flying back to the United States from Afghanistan.

"It wasn’t until I was back in the U.S. and looking through the CD of photos we were given by the photographer that I saw this one," said Tweeden.  "I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep. I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated. How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?"

"I told my husband everything that happened and showed him the picture," she said.  "I wanted to shout my story to the world with a megaphone to anyone who would listen, but even as angry as I was, I was worried about the potential backlash and damage going public might have on my career as a broadcaster. But that was then, this is now. I’m no longer afraid."

After this news surfaced, Senator Franken issued a statement. In full, it reads:

“The first thing I want to do is apologize: to Leeann, to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent, and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women.  There's more I want to say, but the first and most important thing—and if it's the only thing you care to hear, that's fine—is: I'm sorry.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue. (YouTube) 

“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.

“But I want to say something else, too.  Over the last few months, all of us—including and especially men who respect women—have been forced to take a good, hard look at our own actions and think (perhaps, shamefully, for the first time) about how those actions have affected women.

“For instance, that picture.  I don't know what was in my head when I took that picture, and it doesn't matter. There's no excuse. I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself. It isn't funny. It's completely inappropriate. It's obvious how Leeann would feel violated by that picture. And, what's more, I can see how millions of other women would feel violated by it—women who have had similar experiences in their own lives, women who fear having those experiences, women who look up to me, women who have counted on me.

“Coming from the world of comedy, I've told and written a lot of jokes that I once thought were funny but later came to realize were just plain offensive.  But the intentions behind my actions aren't the point at all.  It's the impact these jokes had on others that matters.  And I'm sorry it's taken me so long to come to terms with that.

“While I don't remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences.

“I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate.

“And the truth is, what people think of me in light of this is far less important than what people think of women who continue to come forward to tell their stories. They deserve to be heard, and believed. And they deserve to know that I am their ally and supporter. I have let them down and am committed to making it up to them.”

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