Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) says that he wants to regain the trust of his voters amid allegations that he groped multiple women without their consent.
“I feel terribly that I’ve made some women feel badly and for that I’m sorry, and I want to make sure that never happens again,” he said in a Thursday statement to The Minnesota Star-Tribune.
“And let me say again to Minnesotans that I’m sorry for putting them through this and I’m committed to regaining their trust.”
Franken also explained why he had engaged in physical contact with some women in the past, arguing he is a “warm person” who likes to “hug people.”
“I’ve learned from recent stories that in some of these encounters, I crossed a line for some women – and I know that any number is too many,” he said.
“Some women have found my greetings or embraces for a hug or photo inappropriate, and I respect their feelings about that,” Franken continued.
“I’ve thought a lot in recent days about how that could happen, and I recognize that I need to be much more careful and sensitive in these situations.”
A spokesman for Franken additionally said on Thursday that the senator has no plans to resign amid the accusations about him.
The Huffington Post on Tuesday reported separate accounts from a third and fourth woman accusing Franken of inappropriately touching them in the past.
The first woman described an incident in 2007, while the second detailed an encounter the following year.
The two women alleged that Franken groped their buttocks during his first Senate campaign, and each made the claims anonymously.
“It’s difficult to respond to anonymous accusers, and I don’t remember those campaign events,” he said in a statement to The Huffington Post.
Broadcaster Leeann Tweeden leveled the first allegations against Franken last week, accusing him of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 event.
The radio personality also shared a photograph of Franken seemingly grabbing her chest while she was sleeping at the United Services Organization (USO) tour through Afghanistan.
Franken has since repeatedly apologized as more women have accused him of similar actions, and he has also called for a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into his own behavior.
Multiple Democrats and Republicans have criticized Franken over the allegations, which comes amid renewed national energy to address sexual misconduct.