Nonconsenual Sex Allegations Resurface After Ohio Lawmaker Resigns

by | November 20, 2017

By Jim Siegel

When state Rep. Wes Goodman resigned this week after being confronted about a sexual interaction in his office involving a man, multiple Statehouse observers said some version of the same thing: This isn't everything.

A new revelation shown in emails and documents obtained by The Washington Post depicts another sexual encounter that, unlike the one in Goodman's state office, was not consensual.

An 18-year-old college student who attended an October 2015 fundraiser near Washington was invited to Goodman's hotel room, where he fell asleep, the emails said. But in the middle of the night the student woke up to find Goodman unzipping the young man's pants and fondling him, sending the student running from Goodman's room to his parents, the Post reported.

The boy's stepfather wrote to Tony Perkins, president of the Council for National Policy, an evangelical activist group that hosted the event. "If we endorse these types of individuals, then it would seem our whole weekend together was nothing more than a charade," the stepfather wrote, according to the Post.

The student said Goodman, R-Cardington, first approached him outside a Ritz-Carlton ballroom while urging young people to come to a party on Capitol Hill, the Post reported.

"One of the young guys didn't want to go, and Wes really made fun of him and told him he 'had a vagina' and made sarcastic remarks about him being like a woman," the teen wrote in a statement -- obtained by the newspaper -- that was sent to Perkins.

When the group got back to the hotel, "Wes pushed me to come to his room" and offered to let him share his bed, he wrote.

After the incident became known, Perkins urged the then-31-year-old Goodman to drop out of his 2015 bid for the Statehouse. But he did not, and the information was not widely shared in Ohio.

One of those copied on at least one of Perkins' emails was longtime conservative icon Bob McEwen, a former GOP congressman from southern Ohio and executive director of the Council for National Policy.

"Going forward so soon, without some distance from your past behavior and a track record of recovery, carries great risk for you and for those who are supporting you," Perkins wrote on Dec. 18, 2015, to Goodman, according to the Post.

Ohio Republican Party Chairman Jane Timken issued a statement Saturday regarding McEwen being copied on the email.

"I think every person has an obligation to say and do something about sexual misconduct or harassment of any kind when they see it. If Bob McEwen knew about this and did not say or do anything, he should resign" from the Republican state central committee, she said.

McEwen did not respond to telephone calls and emails from The Washington Post. He did not immediately respond to an email from The Dispatch. A cell telephone number listed in its name would not accept a voice mail.

Perkins also said he was "obligated" to disclose the situation to council members who had donated to Goodman's campaign, but it was not clear if he did. Goodman was close to the council as the managing director of the affiliated Conservative Action Project.

Perkins also is president of the Family Research Council, which opposes same-sex marriage and abortion, and calls homosexuality "unnatural."

Goodman was a former aide to U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, whose spokesman has said was not aware of his behavior.

House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, asked Goodman to resign from his House seat this week after he was informed of an incident from several weeks prior of "inappropriate behavior" in Goodman's office in the Riffe Center.

After quitting, Goodman said in a statement: "We all bring our own struggles and our own trials into public life."

The exit of Goodman, who is married, came less than a month after the resignation of Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, following a complaint of sexual harassment filed by a staffer who said he asked her repeatedly to have sex with him in his Columbus condo. On Monday, Senate Democratic chief of staff Mike Premo resigned after a complaint of inappropriate behavior by a female staffer.

On his Twitter page, Goodman had described himself as "Christian. American. Conservative. Republican."

Those designations have now been removed.

(c)2017 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)