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Radio Host Alleges Al Franken Kissed, Groped Her Without Consent

Leeann Tweeden, a TV host and sports broadcaster, says Sen. Al Franken kissed and groped her without her consent in 2006.

The McIntyre in the Morning anchor wrote a first-person essay for her Los Angeles-based KABC talk radio website, detailing her encounter with the comedian and Minnesota senator during a USO tour to entertain troops in the Middle East.

Franken was the headliner for the show, and also performing were country music artists Darryl Worley, Mark Wills, Keni Thomas and Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.

Franken had written plenty of skits before the 2006 USO tour and said "the skits were full of sexual innuendo geared toward a young, male audience."

Tweeden wrote that "as a TV host and sports broadcaster, as well as a model familiar to the audience from the covers of FHM, Maxim and Playboy, I was only expecting to emcee and introduce the acts, but Franken said he had written a part for me that he thought would be funny, and I agreed to play along."

Tweeden said that Franken wrote in a kiss between him and Tweeden. Although she refused to rehearse the kiss like he requested — and even planned on refusing the kiss onstage, thinking it would get a few laughs — he "continued to insist" and then "came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth."

She said that she felt "disgusted and violated." No one saw what happened but she made sure she was never alone with him on the rest of the tour.

"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," she wrote. "I walked away. All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth."

After the tour wrapped, and she was back in the U.S. looking through photos from the plane, she saw a picture of Franken with his hands over her chest.

"I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep. I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated," she wrote. "How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?"

Tweeden wrote that she never shared her story because she was afraid of the backlash it might hold against her career. However, after reporting the sexual harassment and assault claims sweeping Hollywood and other industries alike, Tweeden wrote, "I'm no longer afraid."

"You wrote the script. But there’s nothing funny about sexual assault," she wrote in the essay to Franken. "You wrote the scene that would include you kissing me and then relentlessly badgered me into ‘rehearsing’ the kiss with you backstage when we were alone."

She continued, "You knew exactly what you were doing. You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later, and be ashamed. ... My story is worth telling."

Tweeden is the latest to come forward in a string of sexual harassment and assault accusations in the political and entertainment industries. Among the most high-profile cases are men like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Jeremy Piven and Ed Westwick.