Franken apologizes after groping allegation: 'It was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t'

Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenNelson campaign to donate K from Al Franken group to charity Sexual assault is not a game — stop using women to score political points Election Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls MORE (D-Minn.) apologized on Thursday after a woman accused him of kissing and groping her without her consent in 2006.

“I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann," Franken said in a statement, referring to Leeann Tweeden, a morning news anchor for KABC in Los Angeles.

"As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn't. I shouldn't have done it.”

Tweeden earlier Thursday accused Franken of kissing and groping her without her consent during a USO tour.

Tweeden wrote in a piece on the KABC website that Franken, the headliner on the tour, told her he had written some lines for her in a skit. 

Franken included a moment when "his character comes at me for a 'kiss,'" she said, adding that Franken insisted the two rehearse the scene, during which he "put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth."

Tweeden also said she fell asleep on the flight back to the U.S., and later saw a photo of Franken groping her.

"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," she wrote in the piece.

"I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated," she wrote. "How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?"

She said she is sharing her story now because there may be others, adding that she is no longer afraid and wants the "days of silence to be over forever."

Her comments come amid increased reports of sexual harassment, including on Capitol Hill.

Several women have accused Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct, including assault. He is facing growing calls from top Republicans to step aside, but has indicated he plans to keep running.