HE ‘RETALIATED’

BRASS MOVE TO STRIP SOME DU­TIES, MOVE HIS DESK ON HOUSE FLOOR; SAY HE NAMED AC­CUSER ON SO­CIAL ME­DIA

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Alex Rose arose@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @arosedelco on Twit­ter

In this file photo, state Rep. Nick Miccarelli, R-162 of Ri­d­ley Park, speaks dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in the Capi­tol Me­dia Cen­ter.

Repub­li­can House lead­er­ship has asked the Com­mit­tee on Com­mit­tees to strip out­go­ing state Rep. Nick Miccarelli of all of his stand­ing com­mit­tee po­si­tions af­ter find­ing that he retaliated against a wo­man who ac­cused him of sex­ual as­sault.

Miccarelli, R-162 of Ri­d­ley Park, has ve­he­mently de­nied the al­le­ga­tions, though a cau­cus in­ves­ti­ga­tion found the wo­man’s claims “cred­i­ble” and for­warded her con­fi­den­tial com­plaint on to Dauphin County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Fran Chardo.

No crim­i­nal charges have been filed in the case.

“Dur­ing that ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and sev­eral times af­ter­wards, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Miccarelli was specif­i­cally in­formed of the terms of the cau­cus pol­icy, which in­cludes a pro­hi­bi­tion against re­tal­i­a­tion,” ac­cord­ing to a memo sent to House mem­bers Thurs­day. “He sub­se­quently was found to have vi­o­lated that pol­icy on more than one oc­ca­sion.”

The wo­man, a po­lit­i­cal con­sul­tant who for­merly dated Miccarelli, filed the con­fi­den­tial com­plaint with House lead­ers in early Fe­bru­ary. She claimed Miccarelli forced her to have sex shortly af­ter she ended the re­la­tion­ship in 2014. The wo­man said she also be­lieved he had drugged her one night while they were dat­ing and en­gaged in “non-con­sen­sual sex­ual be­hav­ior” while she was un­con­scious. Miccarelli has ve­he­mently de­nied both claims.

Shortly af­ter the al­le­ga­tions were made pub­lic, Miccarelli named his ac­cuser in a Face­book post, which the memo stated had re­mained in place for months. He also pro­vided nude pic­tures of the wo­man to news out­lets, which the House found served no “valid pur­pose.”

The wo­man filed a sup­ple­men­tal com­plaint ear­lier this month al­leg­ing Miccarelli had vi­o­lated cau­cus rules on re­tal­i­a­tion. A fol­low-up in­ves­ti­ga­tion was com­pleted Thurs­day.

“The re­sult of the fol­low-up in­ves­ti­ga­tion found Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Miccarelli again vi­o­lated the pol­icy,” the memo said. “He has con­tin­ued to main­tain for months a state­ment on Face­book that was specif­i­cally iden­ti­fied by the House as a re­tal­i­a­tion. Fur­ther­more, he retaliated through the dis­sem­i­na­tion of sex­u­ally ex­plicit emails and im­ages with­out a valid pur­pose.”

Miccarelli spokesman Frank Keel said in a state­ment Thurs­day that the rep­re­sen­ta­tive had turned over “the en­tirety” of elec­tronic ex­changes be­tween Miccarelli and his ac­cuser in or­der to “pro­vide es­sen­tial con­text on the scope, na­ture, in­ti­macy and length of the con­sen­sual re­la­tion­ship be­tween him and the anony­mous com­plainant.”

Miccarelli’s at­tor­ney, Joe Po­draza, told the Daily Times that the pic­tures were pro­vided to demon­strate that the con­sul­tant was a “freer spirit” than was de­picted in an ini­tial Philadel­phia In­quirer and Cau­cus story.

Charles Lyons, one of the at­tor­neys rep­re­sent­ing the con­sul­tant, said there was never a dis­pute that there had been a con­sen­sual re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two and that it had ended some time ago.

“The pho­tos that were be­ing dis­trib­uted were ap­prox­i­mately 11 months be­fore the par­tic­u­lar non-con­sen­sual of­fense and it’s ir­rel­e­vant,” he said. “They are ir­rel­e­vant. They serve no pur­pose other than to re­tal­i­ate, and we fell like that is an at­tempt to chill our clients from con­tin­u­ing to pro­ceed on this mat­ter.”

Dur­ing an in­ter­view with the Daily Times in March, the wo­man said she feared com­ing for­ward be­cause Miccarelli has a his­tory of “slut-sham­ing” as a way to dis­credit or si­lence his de­trac­tors. She noted her busi­ness was neg­a­tively im­pacted af­ter her name was re­vealed and she had to live in a ho­tel out of fear of go­ing home.

“There are many rea­sons why vic­tims are re­luc­tant or afraid to come for­ward and this kind of be­hav­ior is one of them, so we think it’s im­por­tant that the House is do­ing this,” said Lyons.

Keel also said Miccarelli re­sponded to ini­tial me­dia in­quiries be­fore the story broke “with a text that noted who the me­dia iden­ti­fied as a com­plainant” and posted his sub­se­quent re­sponse to those in­quiries on his per­sonal Face­book page. It was only af­ter­ward that pub­li­ca­tions re­ported that one of the com­plainants was re­quest­ing anonymity, ac­cord­ing to Keel, and the post has since been re­moved.

Miccarelli told the Daily Times in March that he named the wo­man be­cause, “In this coun­try, you have a right to face your ac­cuser.”

“If it came down, it came down in the last few days,” said Lyons. “We had checked pe­ri­od­i­cally and it was still up there.”

An­other com­plainant, state Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-116, of But­ler Town­ship, also ac­cused

Miccarelli of phys­i­cally abus­ing and threat­en­ing her dur­ing their re­la­tion­ship.

Toohil – who had also ini­tially re­mained con­fi­den­tial – al­leged in the com­plaint that Miccarelli kicked, pinched and hit her while they were dat­ing, in­clud­ing at leg­isla­tive events they at­tended to­gether. He also al­legedly held her against the wall of her Capi­tol of­fice by the neck, pointed a gun at her in 2012 and at one point threat­ened to kill them both by crash­ing a ve­hi­cle while driv­ing at speeds in ex­cess of 100 mph. Miccarelli also ve­he­mently de­nied her claims as well.

While Toohil came for­ward and se­cured a three-year per­ma­nent pro­tec­tion from abuse or­der against Miccarelli in which he ad­mit­ted no wrong­do­ing, the con­sul­tant never pub­licly re­vealed her iden­tity.

Miccarelli cur­rently sits on the Ap­pro­pri­a­tions, Con­sumer Af­fairs, Hu­man Ser­vices and Liquor Con­trol com­mit­tees. Toohil also sits on the Hu­man Ser­vices Com­mit­tee.

The PFA al­lowed Miccarelli to re­turn to Har­ris­burg, but he was to have no con­tact with Toohil. Though the two con­tin­ued serv­ing to­gether on the Hu­man Ser­vices Com­mit­tee, Toohil was as­signed a body­guard who ac­com­pa­nied her to meet­ings and the House floor, where she sat about 35 feet from Miccarelli. Thurs­day’s memo in­di­cated his seat would be moved.

Repub­li­can House lead­er­ship and sev­eral Democrats, in­clud­ing Gov. Tom Wolf, have called on Miccarelli to re­sign his seat, but no of­fi­cial ac­tion has taken place to force him out. No Repub­li­cans or Democrats have of­fered a res­o­lu­tion to have him ex­pelled.

Miccarelli, 35, an Iraq war vet­eran and five-term in­cum­bent, an­nounced in March that he would not seek re-elec­tion, but would not step down from of­fice for the re­main­der of his term.

By serv­ing un­til Nov. 30, Miccarelli will hit a 10-year mark of leg­isla­tive ser­vice that would make him and his fam­ily el­i­gi­ble to re­ceive life­time tax­payer-funded health care ben­e­fits, as well as a pen­sion from the State Em­ploy­ees’ Re­tire­ment Sys­tem.

Be­cause Miccarelli with­drew af­ter a dead­line for can­di­dates to file nom­i­nat­ing pe­ti­tions in the May Pri­mary Elec­tion, Repub­li­cans in the 162nd Dis­trict were forced to mount a write-in cam­paign for for­mer Sher­iff Mary Hop­per. Ap­prox­i­mately 3,100 write-in votes were tal­lied Tues­day, though a break-out of names is not yet avail­able.

House Repub­li­can spokesman Steve Miskin said the lead­er­ship mean­while stands by its calls for Miccarelli to re­sign, but he tech­ni­cally works for the peo­ple who elected him, not the House it­self.

In or­der for any House ac­tion to take place, Miskin said, there would need to be a res­o­lu­tion of­fered and a two-thirds ma­jor­ity of rep­re­sen­ta­tives would need to vote in fa­vor. No such mo­tion has yet emerged.

The memo is­sued Thurs­day states that the House Com­mit­tee on Com­mit­tees is sched­uled to is­sue a re­port next week to take ac­tion con­sis­tent with the Gen­eral Op­er­at­ing Rules of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, how­ever.

“Per House Rule 43, it is the com­mit­tee’s re­spon­si­bil­ity ‘to rec­om­mend to the House the names of mem­bers who are to serve on the stand­ing com­mit­tees of the House,’” ac­cord­ing to the memo. “The Repub­li­can Cau­cus of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives does not tol­er­ate re­tal­i­a­tion against any in­di­vid­ual who re­ports or makes a com­plaint about ha­rass­ment or im­proper con­duct, or who as­sists in an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of ha­rass­ment.”

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE IM­AGE

State Rep. Nick Miccarelli, R-162 of Ri­d­ley Park, talks about the sex abuse com­plaints filed against him by two women in this file photo. Miccarelli ve­he­mently de­nies the claims.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

State Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-116 of Luzerne County, is one of two women who filed com­plaints against Delco state Rep. Nick Miccarelli.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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