Minnesota Senator Al Franken apologized to his supporters and vowed he would "take responsibility" for his mistakes. The Democratic senator is the first to be publicly accused of sexual assault. USA TODAY
MAINEVILLE, Ohio — An Ohio woman who accused now-Sen. Al Franken of groping her hid for most of the day Thursday after she told her story to the world on CNN.
Stephanie Kemplin of Maineville asked a friend to pick up her 9-year-old daughter from school because media vans were swarming her neighborhood.
Otherwise, she didn't leave her bed. She stayed under the covers and didn't go outside to get her mail until 10 p.m. ET.
"Someone even called my priest" to get her help, she said. "It sounds stupid, but I was not prepared for this."
► Today: Congress probes trying to determine extent of sex harassment payouts
► Thursday: Senate Ethics Committee launches its investigation of Al Franken
► Thursday: New accuser says Sen. Al Franken groped her, CNN reports
Kemplin is one of at least six women — the three who have decided to allow their names to be used also include radio sports commentator Leeann Tweeden — to make allegations that Franken, D-Minn., inappropriately touched them. Three of the women say Franken groped them after he began his run for Senate in February 2007.
For Kemplin, the incident happened in 2003 while she was stationed with the Army in Kuwait. Franken was visiting troops as part of a USO tour.
A lifelong Saturday Night Live fan, Kemplin got in line for a photo and said Franken touched her breast for 5 to 10 seconds.
She tried to forget it. She didn't even realize she got an autograph from Franken until this week.
Then, she saw the headline for a story that sports commentator Leeann Tweeden wrote.
At first, she didn't even read the full story. Like a movie reel in her head, the memories came flashing back before she had time: memories of Franken smelling like liquor, memories of an unrelated sexual assault involving a fellow soldier while overseas.
Kemplin was at home sitting on the couch when she felt the floor drop out from under her.
"Me, too," she said out loud.
No one else was around.
Her first instinct when a friend suggested she tell the media was, "That's stupid." Instead, she found Tweeden on Facebook and wrote her a message.
At the time, no one else had come forward publicly with accusations against Franken.
"I wanted her to feel validation," Kemplin told The Enquirer. "The same person that made you uncomfortable made me uncomfortable."
She's not asking for Franken to resign. She doesn't feel like that's her place.
“As Sen. Franken made clear this week, he takes thousands of photos and has met tens of thousands of people and he has never intentionally engaged in this kind of conduct," according to a statement from Franken's staff. "He remains fully committed to cooperating with the ethics investigation.”
Kemplin, who grew up in the Cincinnati suburb of St. Bernard, Ohio, before moving a little farther out to Loveland, Ohio, and then Maineville, Ohio, about 25 miles northeast of Cincinnati, decided to speak publicly because of her daughter.
Kemplin has been teaching her the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching. She's been telling her to speak out if she sees something.
Then she realized she couldn't ask her daughter to do something she wasn't doing herself.
She spoke to her priest, her mother and a therapist at Cincinnati's veterans hospital.
On Monday, she spoke to a CNN reporter about what she said Franken did to her.
"I did it because it was wrong," Kemplin said.
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