The Washington Post

Schlapp accuser faced sexual battery case

- — Beth Reinhard, Isaac Arnsdorf and Leigh Tauss

The longtime Republican campaign aide who has leveled sexual misconduct allegation­s against Matt Schlapp, the influentia­l leader of the Conservati­ve Political Action Conference, was accused last month of sexual battery.

Carlton Huffman, 39, was recently ordered by a judge to stay away for one year from a Raleigh, N.C., housemate who alleged he performed unwanted sex acts on her and another woman, according to court documents filed in Wake County Superior Court.

The Feb. 27 protective order was issued about one month after Huffman filed a lawsuit in Virginia alleging sexual battery and defamation by Schlapp. Schlapp has denied the claims.

Huffman was accused of performing sex acts on two women, ages 19 and 22, inside his Raleigh apartment without their consent. The younger woman had recently moved into the apartment with Huffman before the alleged incident on Feb. 15. The women said they felt unsafe in part because they knew Huffman had a gun in the house.

Raleigh police said the case was investigat­ed and closed; an incident report shows no charges were filed.

The 19-year-old woman was granted the year-long restrainin­g order against Huffman, while the 22-year-old obtained a protective order for 10 days; a judge then dismissed her complaint. In an interview with The Washington Post, the 22-year-old — whom The Post is not naming as an alleged victim of sexual violence — said she was offended by Huffman’s portrayal of himself in recent weeks as a sexual battery victim.

Huffman told WRAL News, which first reported the protective order, that he was “innocent of improper conduct.” His attorney, Tim Hyland, declined to comment.

Huffman sued Schlapp anonymousl­y in mid-january, seeking $9.4 million in damages. An Alexandria Circuit Court judge on Wednesday said he needed to identify himself in the lawsuit to proceed, leading Huffman to come forward publicly.

Schlapp’s lawyer argued that by proceeding anonymousl­y, Huffman was trying to avoid scrutiny of his own record — which includes expressing extremist views on a whitesupre­macist blog and radio show more than a decade ago.

In the lawsuit, Huffman says that as a staffer for Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker, he was asked to drive Schlapp when he came to Atlanta for an Oct. 19 campaign rally. According to Huffman, Schlapp groped his crotch in the car after they went to two bars that night. Schlapp acknowledg­es going to bars with Huffman but denies the rest of his account.

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