2018-05-24 / Local & State

House GOP Moves To Strip Accused Lawmaker Of Committee Seats

By Mark Scolforo ASSOCIATED PRESS

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania House Republican leaders said Thursday they were moving to take away committee assignments from a caucus member accused of abusing two women who dated him, including a fellow lawmaker who is now assigned a bodyguard while she is at the statehouse.

The leadership team said in a memo to rank-and-file members they planned to ask the panel that oversees committee assignments to strip them from Rep. Nick Miccarelli.

The memo accuses Miccarelli, R-Delaware, of repeatedly violating a caucus policy against retaliation, even after he was told several times about it.

“He has continued to maintain for months a statement on Facebook that was specifically identified by the House as a retaliation,” the GOP leaders wrote. “Furthermore, he retaliated through the dissemination of sexually explicit emails and images without a valid purpose.”

The claims by his accusers, Republican Rep. Tarah Toohil and a Harrisburg lobbyist, became public in late February. House GOP leaders have urged him to resign.

Toohil obtained a protective order against Miccarelli in March and House leaders provided her with a security escort when she is in the Capitol. Thursday’s memo from House GOP leaders said they also are moving Miccarelli’s desk on the chamber floor, so it will be farther from Toohil’s.

Miccarelli dropped out of the primary race for re-election this year but insists he is innocent of the accusations. His spokesman, Frank Keel, said in a news release that Miccarelli has “no choice but to accede'' to the leaders’ action.

Keel said Miccarelli “has since removed the complainant’s name from his Facebook page,” adding that “the sole purpose of Nick and his representatives' actions were to defend Nick against these false allegations, not to harass, embarrass, threaten or intimidate the complainants.”

Toohil claims Miccarelli hit her and threatened to kill her during a relationship that ended in 2012, and was physically intimidating to her more recently in the Capitol. The other woman says he came to her house after they broke up in 2014 and forced her to have sex.

The prosecutor whose territory includes the Capitol, Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo, said Thursday his office’s investigation of the allegations remains at the information gathering stage.

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