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Former campaign aid alleges Franken grabbed, kissed her; Prosecutors declined to file charges

Retired U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Franken takes questions from voters about foreign policy during an event hosted by the S.T.A.R PAC in Des Moines on May 31. Franken also ran unsuccessfully for a different U.S. Senate seat in Iowa in 2020.
Clay Masters
/
IPR
Iowa Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Mike Franken has denied an allegation that he kissed his former campaign manager.

A former campaign staffer for Iowa Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Mike Franken alleged in a police report that Franken kissed her on her mouth without her permission in March.

The alleged incident is described in a Des Moines Police Department police report. Republican-aligned blog Iowa Field Report first reported on the police report Monday, and IPR also obtained the police report from the DMPD.

Franken denied the allegations Monday at a campaign event and through a spokesperson.

“These allegations are false,” Julie Stauch, Franken for Iowa campaign manager, said in a statement. “The accusation was investigated by the Des Moines Police Department and the Polk County Attorney’s Office who found no wrongdoing and closed the case as unfounded.”

The incident report states the Polk County Attorney’s Office determined “there was insufficient information and evidence to pursue a criminal investigation.”

The name of the alleged perpetrator is redacted in the police report, but references to the alleged perpetrator having a campaign and the name of another Franken for Iowa staff member appear in the report. Franken’s campaign has not denied that the police report was about Franken.

Kimberley Strope-Boggus, who managed Franken’s U.S. Senate campaign in 2020 and also worked for his 2022 campaign, gave her statement to the police in April. According to the police report, Strope-Boggus was fired in the winter of 2022 and was asked to sign a separation agreement stating she would not make disparaging remarks about the candidate she worked for.

According to the incident report, Strope-Boggus told a police officer that the candidate requested a meeting with her. They met at a bar on March 18, and the candidate asked her to rejoin the campaign staff.

The police report says: “As they were walking to their cars Kimberly [sic] stated they continued to talk about work topics. She stated [redacted] then grabbed the collar of the vest she was wearing and kissed her on her mouth. Kimberly pulled away from this, and she stated that [redacted] stopped the contact and walked away without saying anything further.”

The report also states that Strope-Boggus alleged the candidate she worked for did the same thing to “several other women.” It also states, “Kimberly did not describe any sexual intent nor any intent to harm either her or the other women that [redacted] has kissed.”

IPR tried to reach Strope-Boggus by phone Monday afternoon but did not immediately hear back.

According to a reporter for The Gazette, Franken repeatedly denied the allegations Monday at an event in Cedar Rapids. Franken told The Gazette that Strope-Boggus requested the meeting, and that he was never interviewed by DMPD.

Democratic candidates for Congress Liz Mathis and Christina Bohannan were listed as speakers at the Cedar Rapids event with Franken but did not show up, according to The Gazette. The Bohannan and Mathis campaigns told IPR they had scheduling conflicts.

Mathis said in a statement she reaffirms her "zero-tolerance stance against all forms of sexual harassment."

"Although it is my understanding investigators found that no criminal act occurred and the case was closed after being deemed unfounded by police, it is an important reminder that workplaces and law enforcement should encourage women to feel comfortable coming forward with any allegations of inappropriate conduct."

IPR reporters Clay Masters and Zachary Oren Smith contributed to this report.

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter