Senator Al Franken (D-MN) appears to have broken a federal statute that criminalizes non-consensual sexual contact in special territorial jurisdictions such as the USO C-17 cargo plane traveling from Afghanistan to the United States on which he groped Leeann Tweeden in her sleep. This could spell additional trouble for Franken, who is already facing a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into his conduct, as he almost certainly committed a federal felony in 2006.
Unfortunately for Franken, 18 U.S.C. § 2244 (b) prescribes in very clear detail that “Whoever, in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States… knowingly engages in sexual contact with another person without that other person’s permission shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”:
Furthermore, in more bad news for Franken, 18 U.S.C. § 2246 (3) defines “sexual contact” as “the intentional touching, either directly or through the clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.”:
Thus, Franken’s actions towards Tweeden easily fall within the relevant criminal definition of sexual contact, as it does not matter that Franken groped her over clothing:
MSM loves Al Franken.
Should be interesting how they try to shield this then-married man from groping a USO performer in her sleep. pic.twitter.com/L36csGdD28
— Google "Tapper Dated Chubby Lewinsky” (@NolteNC) November 16, 2017
It certainly appears that Franken had the intention to abuse, humiliate, and harass the sleeping Tweeden, who had been desperately trying to avoid him after he forcibly kissed her during a rehearsal. Tweeden writes: “Other than our dialogue on stage, I never had a voluntary conversation with Al Franken again. I avoided him as much as possible and made sure I was never alone with him again for the rest of the tour.”
Tweeden also confirmed Franken’s groping certainly had that exact violating effect on her when she later saw the picture. “I felt violated all over again,” Tweeden explains in her original story. “Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.”
The Boeing C-17 cargo plane on which Franken groped Tweeden is a United States Air Force aircraft, thereby making the it subject to the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States under 49 U.S.C. § 46501 (2) (B):
Any potential criminal behavior Franken engaged in on that flight is subject to the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, per 49 U.S.C. § 46506 (1):
In July of this year, a 27-year-old Oregon woman received three years of probation for touching the woman sitting next to her on a flight on the breasts and genitals. She plead guilty to assault with the intent to commit a felony. According to federal prosecutors, she “made contact with victim’s body, including her inner thigh, and made a series of profane and lewd statements to the victim” with “intent to humiliate and harass the victim.”
Franken’s future in politics remains somewhat unclear; according to a staffer, the Minnesota Senator is not resigning, but rather “reflecting.”
Stay tuned for more.
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