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Legal expert breaks down claims against Democratic US Senate candidate Mike Franken

A Drake law professor and the chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa weigh in on why claims like these are so hard to prove legally.

DES MOINES, Iowa — A former campaign manager accused Iowa Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Admiral Mike Franken of kissing her without her consent in March 2022.

An April police report details the claims, which include Franken grabbing Kimberley Strope-Boggus by the collar and kissing her on the mouth while at a bar together.

Within the report, Franken's name was redacted. Conservative news outlet Iowa Field Report first reported the story, naming Franken as the accused.

Franken said the alleged assault never happened, with his current campaign manager, Julie Stauch, sending the following statement:

"These allegations are false. This 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 Des Moines Police Department investigated the claims and said the Polk County Attorney's Office did not find enough sufficient evidence, eventually closing the case as "unfounded."

Drake University Law Professor Sally Frank said when allegations like Strope-Boggus' are made, it can be difficult to take those claims to court. 

"It's very hard to bring an accusation against another person, especially a person with power," Frank said.

RELATED: Former campaign staffer accuses Democratic US Senate candidate Mike Franken of grabbing, kissing her

"You have to find a good lawyer to take the case. If you don't, you know, an individual against a company is not going to fare very well without a lawyer," she said.

Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa Jeff Kaufmann said the term "unfounded" used in the police report is legal jargon and doesn't imply that the incident never happened. 

"As any county prosecutor can point out to you, unfounded in this case means there was not enough evidence to prosecute. It does not mean that the event did not happen," Kaufmann said. "This is a typical, very typical of assault and harassment cases. There has not been any law enforcement officer, not one that claims this troubling accusation never happened."

Frank said, if you find yourself becoming a victim of inappropriate conduct, the more evidence the better.

"Take pictures of them, that's useful evidence. Iowa is a one-sided consent state, in terms of recordings. So in person, if you know, you have a phone in your pocket, and they have the sound on and then make admissions, you can use that," Frank said. 

Strope-Boggus signed a non-disparagement and non-disclosure agreement with the Franken campaign, preventing her from legally speaking on the claims.

Franken is facing incumbent Senator Chuck Grassley in the U.S. Senate race this November.

Grassley released a statement regarding these allegations, saying in part: "These reports are clearly disturbing ... Franken's alleged victim should have an opportunity to be heard and to defend her good name."

Local 5 has reached out to the Iowa Democratic Party on this matter, and they have yet to respond.

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