Mike Franken. (photo supplied by Franken.)

The Des Moines woman who has accused U.S. Senate candidate Mike Franken of kissing her without her permission has commented publicly for the first time.

In April, Kimberley Strope-Boggus told a police officer she met with Franken in March, shortly after she’d been fired from the campaign and the two discussed a new campaign role for her. Strope-Boggus recently sent a text to Iowa journalist Lyz Lenz, who wrote a story about Franken for the national publication Politico.

Strope-Boggus is quoted as saying she’s been treated like a “disposable pawn” by both political parties since a conservative website published her police report last month.

Strope-Boggus included the phrase “it happened” in her text — a direct response to Franken’s statement that the kiss “never happened.”

In a written statement, Franken campaign manager Julie Stauch said: “If anyone is making a pawn of her, it is Grassley, not our campaign.”

According to Stauch, the revelation of the police report “was done in collaboration with the former Franken campaign manager and with Grassley and his staff.”

A spokeswoman for Senator Grassley’s campaign has pointed to two unnamed women cited in Politico’s story who also accused Franken of making women uncomfortable.  “The pattern that’s emerging raises very serious questions for Iowans and the public trust,” said Michaela Sundermann, the communications director for the Grassley campaign.

Franken’s campaign manager said: “This whole hit was an effort to undermine Michael Franken’s campaign because he is on track to beat Chuck Grassley.”

Grassley and Franken are scheduled to debate tonight, starting at seven o’clock on Iowa PBS. It’s their only scheduled debate of the campaign.