Pa. lawmaker says she told of alleged abuse to help others
HARRISBURG – A Pennsylvania state lawmaker who got a restraining order against a fellow lawmaker she accuses of threatening to kill her says she has come forward to help others.
State Rep. Tarah Toohil said in a statement released Saturday by her lawyers that she was in a consensual relationship with fellow Republican Rep. Nick Miccarelli six years ago “but there were terrible moments that were non-consensual.” He hasn’t been charged with any crime and has denied the accusations.
Her protection order request alleges that he pointed a gun at her at one point and has harassed and stalked her since their relationship ended, and she has been “in fear for my safety at work” since filing a complaint against him in the state House. A Luzerne County judged granted the restraining order Friday, barring Miccarelli from contacting Toohil and prohibiting him from possessing firearms.
“As a public official, I believe that I have a duty to step forward to protect other women,” Toohil said, adding that it had taken her years to identify that she was a victim of violence.
“This does not define me. It’s something that happened to me,” she said. “And if I – as a lawyer and a lawmaker – could be this afraid of that individual, then I can only imagine how the other victims feel, which is why I am coming out publicly.”
In a separate allegation against Miccarelli, a political consultant claims that after she ended their relationship in 2014, Miccarelli came to her house and forced her to have sex, holding her neck during part of the alleged attack. Their attorneys said both women came forward after Miccarelli posted comments on Facebook on the national furor over sexual misconduct allegations. Miccarelli has denied those allegations too.
Miccarelli, 35, who got married last month, is serving his fifth two-year term representing a district just outside Philadelphia. Spokesman Frank Keel called them outrageous and baseless, part of a smear campaign, and questioned why Toohil would wait “six long years” to take legal action.
The women’s attorneys criticized Miccarelli’s statements as “really just continued abuse of a victim.”
Republican and Democratic lawmakers have both called on him to resign amid the allegations.