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Not All Politicians Accused Of Sexual Misbehavior Forced From Office

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

It has been quite a week on Capitol Hill, with three members of Congress announcing their resignations over allegations of sexual misconduct. The first came on Tuesday - Democratic Congressman John Conyers.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHN CONYERS: I am retiring today.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Conyers served almost 53 years in the House. A settlement with a former staffer became public in recent weeks, and he faced other accusations. Conyers dismissed them as part of the game of politics.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CONYERS: Whatever they are, they are not accurate, or they're not true. I can't explain where they came from.

KELLY: Then came Wednesday and a new allegation against Democratic Senator Al Franken. A woman said he tried to kiss her in 2006 when he was a radio host, which he denies. But by midday, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and many other Democrats said enough is enough.

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KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND: And I think when we start having to talk about the differences between sexual assault and sexual harassment and unwanted groping, you are having the wrong conversation. We need to draw a line in the sand and say none of it is OK.

MCEVERS: And then the next day, Thursday, Franken announced his resignation.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

AL FRANKEN: I of all people am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party.

KELLY: Just hours later, Republican Congressman Trent Franks said he would resign in January. But then today, he said his resignation was effective immediately. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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