Pa. House GOP: Probe finds Miccarelli 'retaliated'

Pennsylvania House Republican leadership says it's seeking to have Rep. Nick Miccarelli removed from committees after an investigation found him in violation of a policy prohibiting retaliation.

Miccarelli (R-162nd, Delaware County) faces allegations of sexual harassment by his fellow House member, Rep. Tarah Toohill. She claims he pulled a gun and threatened to kill her when they dated several years ago. He denies it.

But a House investigation found that the "allegations of domestic violence, sexual assault and abuse were credible."

Information was turned over to the Dauphin County District Attorney's office for its review and possible action, House leadership says.

GOP leadership called for Miccarelli's resignation.

Instead, Miccarelli announced in March that he would not seek reelection, leaving office when his term ends later this year.

According to a memo Republican leadership issued Thursday to all House members, a follow-up investigation resulting from a subsequent complaint was just completed.

The follow-up probe found Miccarelli "has continued to maintain for months a statement on Facebook that was specifically identified by the House as a retaliation."

The memo adds, "Furthermore, he retaliated through the dissemination of sexually explicit emails and images without a valid purpose."

As a result, GOP leadership is asking for Miccarelli to be removed from all standing committees "due to a continuing breach of House Republican Caucus policy."

They're also moving his seat on the floor of the House, the memo states.

Frank Keel, a spokesman for Miccarelli, issued the following statement on the representative's behalf:

"First and foremost, Rep. Miccarelli continues to maintain his innocence. Regarding the Caucus leadership’s actions based on the Caucus investigators' supplemental investigative  report, Rep. Miccarelli, like any other member of the State House, has no choice but to accede while he continues to prove his innocence based on the credible, tangible evidence he has produced to the proper authorities to date.

"Rep. Miccarrelli however would like to make the following additional points:  

"First, the Representative produced the entire body of texts and images exchanged between himself and the anonymous complainant to two members of the media to rebut the serious, false allegations of rape which have been sadly lodged against him.  The production of the entirety of this electronic exchange over many years was necessary to provide essential context on the scope, nature, intimacy and length of the consensual relationship between him and the anonymous complainant.  The evidence was provided with the explicit understanding that it was not to be disseminated by the media representatives. Nick has the right to rebut false accusations made against him, as does every American citizen. The evidence was provided solely to defend Nick; not to harass, embarrass, annoy or intimidate the anonymous complainant. It was only provided to two media representatives and no one else 

"Second, the identification of the anonymous complainant was not for harassment, embarrassment, retaliatory or like purposes. Nick had ample reason to believe that her name had already been made public by the media. On February 26, 2018, Nick was on jury duty when the media contacted him about the complainants’ claims.  The media specifically identified the “anonymous complainant” by her first and last name, demanding that Nick respond to her false claim of sexual assault.  Since the media was freely identifying her by name, Nick had no reason to believe the complainant sought anonymity.  Under an extremely short time constraint, Nick responded to the media inquiries with a text that noted who the media identified as a complainant and, accepting the truthfulness of the media’s representation, that her allegations were false.  Nick posted his subsequent response to the media on his personal Facebook page.  Thereafter, media publications reported that one of the complainants was requesting anonymity.  Nick has since removed the complainant’s name from his Facebook page. Finally, it needs to be restated 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."

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