Pa. lawmaker accused of abusing colleague must move his seat
HARRISBURG – Republican leaders said Thursday they will take away the committee assignments – and move the seat – of a Pennsylvania state representative accused of abusing two women, including a fellow lawmaker who has a protection order against him and is assigned a bodyguard.
A memo issued by the House GOP leadership to its members accused Rep. Nick Miccarelli, 35, of repeatedly violating a caucus policy against retaliation, even after he was told several times about it.
The legislative leaders said the Republican lawmaker from suburban Philadelphia had continued for months to maintain a statement on Facebook that was “specifically identified by the House as a retaliation.”
“Furthermore, he retaliated through the dissemination of sexually explicit emails and images without a valid purpose,” they wrote.
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, but have not taken any steps to expel him from the chamber. He has denied any wrongdoing in his relations with his two accusers, both of whom he had dated.
In March, Toohil obtained a three-year protection-from-abuse order against Miccarelli that requires him to keep his distance from her as well as give up his firearms. After that ruling, the House assigned her a security escort whenever she is in the Capitol.
In their memo, the GOP leaders said they would also now move Miccarelli’s desk on the chamber floor so it is farther from Toohil’s. He now sits about 35 feet (about 11 meters) away. They said they would decide next week where to put him.
Miccarelli has repeatedly denied the accusations against him, but decided not to seek re-election this year.
His spokesman, Frank Keel, said Miccarelli “has since removed the complainant’s name from his Facebook page.” He said the “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 county prosecutor said he is investigating.
The GOP leaders said they are asking a House panel to remove Miccarelli from his committee assignments.