A case involving the Legislature
as the # Metoo movement swept the nation, Pennsylvania faced its own scandal when two women accused a sitting member of the house of Representatives of domestic vio
lence or sexual assault.
In February, Rep. Tarah Toohil, R- Luzerne county, and an unnamed Republican consultant lodged a complaint with house GOP leadership against Rep. Nick Miccarelli, R- Delaware county.
Toohil obtained a final protection- from- abuse order against Miccarelli in March. although he agreed to the entry of the restraining order, Miccarelli did not admit to any of the domestic- violence allegations leveled against him by Toohil and has continued to deny wrongdoing involving both women.
house leadership and Gov. Tom Wolf called on him to resign.
Jennifer storm, Pennsylvania’s victim advocate, called the house’s failure to remove Miccarelli “unconscionable.”
house Republican spokesman stephen Miskin said caucus leadership’s unanimous call for resignation of one of its members was a highly unusual — if not unprecedented — event.
It’s one of the reasons Miccarelli did not run for re- election and will not be returning to the chamber in January, Miskin said.
Miskin also noted that Miccarelli was stripped of his committees. a house GOP
legal team found the women to be credible and forwarded the allegations to Dauphin county District attorney Fran chardo, who is investigating.
storm was sharply critical of the house’s handling of the matter during an interview with The caucus. STORM: The house and the senate have different processes [ for responding to accusations of sexual harassment or misconduct] and all that needs to be uniform: It should be one process. If you were sexually harassed or abused by a Democratic senator, it should look the same as if you were sexually harassed or abused by a Republican senator. same in the house. Right now you have four different processes, and it’s a mess, and it’s confusing, and it certainly does not serve anyone other than the actual legislators themselves.
It’s unconscionable that the house basically made a finding of fact and then took their hands off it, and then gave it to the district attorney. While it’s appropriate to forward that information to the district attorney for prosecution, they should have held a hearing, they should have gotten rid of the member who is at the forefront.
THE CAUCUS: an expulsion hearing? STORM: Of course, there should have been an expulsion hearing. They called for it, and there was a house resolution that was drafted, but I believe it never got circulated.
THE CAUCUS: What does it say to men and women who are survivors of domestic violence to know that there’s a lawmaker who has an active PFA against him to be in that building?
STORM: It’s diminishing. It’s disrespectful. It sends a horrible message to the other leaders. anyone running or anyone currently occupying a seat now can say, well, that’s just a PFA, it just means I can’t sit next to her in caucus. I mean, it completely diminishes that survivor’s experience.