Photo: Lawrence Jackson / AP

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) released a statement Thursday saying he will cooperate in the Ethics Committee's investigation after a reporter said he kissed and groped her in 2006 without her consent.

Key quote: "I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate."

His full statement:

"The first thing I want to do is apologize: to Leeann, to everyone else who was part od that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent, and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women. There's more I want to say, but the first and most important thing — and if its the only thing you care to hear, that's fine — is: I'm sorry.

I respect women. I don't respect men who don't. And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed.

But I want to say something else, too. Over the last few months, all of us — including and especially meant who respect women — have been forced to take a good, hard look at our own actions and think (perhaps, shamefully, for the first time) about how those actions have affected women.

For instance, that picture. I don't know what was in my head when I took that picture, and it doesn't matter. There's no excuse. I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself. IT isn't funny. Its completely inappropriate. Its obvious how Leeann would feel violate by it — women who have had similar experiences in their own lives, women who fear having those experience, women who look up to me, women who had counted on me.

Coming form the world of comedy, Ive told and written a lot of jokes that I once thought were funny but later came to realize were just plain offensive. But the intentions behind my actions aren't the point at all. Its the impact these jokes had on others that matters. And I'm sorry its taken me so long to come to terms with that.

While I don't remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen to and believe women's experiences.

I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate."

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