Franken Pledges To Win Back Trust After Allegations

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Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota apologized on Nov. 27 for groping women and promised "this will not happen again."

Franken spoke to reporters as he returned to Congress following the Thanksgiving break, reports Reuters.

"I know that I am going to have to be much more conscious when in these circumstances, much more careful, much more sensitive and that this will not happen again going forward," added Franken.

The former comedian and television writer has been accused of sexual assault by Leeann Tweeden, who he appeared alongside in a 2006 USO show for American troops. Minnesota resident Lindsay Menz also accused Franken of groping her when they had their photo taken at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010.

"I know there are no magic words that I can say to regain your trust and I know that's going to take time," said Franken. "I'm ready to start that process and it starts with going back to work today."

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Franken was first elected to the Senate in 2008. He stated that throughout his time in politics, his supporters had  "counted on me to be a champion for women."

After avoiding media interviews for eight days, Franken spoke to Minneapolis news outlet the Star Tribune on Nov. 26, ahead of his return to Washington.

"I'm looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow," Franken said.

The senator insisted he could not recall the alleged assault on Menz, as well as other women who said he had similarly groped them.

"I don't remember these photographs, I don't," added Franken. "This is not something I would intentionally do."

Franken is not the only member of Congress to face sexual misconduct allegations. Democratic Rep. John Conyers resigned from his position as chair of the House Judiciary Committee Nov. 27, vowing that an Ethics Committee investigation would clear his name. He "expressly and vehemently" denied accusations of sexual misconduct made by former female staffers, Newsweek reported.

Franken has requested that the Senate Ethics Committee examine his own behavior.

"I'm going to take responsibility," he added. "I'm going to be held accountable through the ethics committee. And I'm going to hopefully be a voice in this that is helpful ... Again, I respect women. What kills me about this is it gives people a reason to believe I don't respect women."

But some have lost trust in Franken following the allegations against him. A rape survivor demanded that Franken remove his name from a piece of legislation he had supported in her honor. Some politicians who received money from Franken's political action committee donated it to shelters for battered women.

Sources: Reuters, Star Tribune, Newsweek / Featured Image: Lorie Shaull/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Gregory Varnum/Wikimedia Commons, Ted Eytan/Wikimedia Commons

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