Life in the political arena leaves one open to all manner of criticisms. It is not uncommon for one to find himself standing accused of bending the rules or cutting deals for the sake of gaining favors. However, most will not find themselves on trial for allegations of assault like one former congressional aide from Pennsylvania.
The aide, who had served in different capacities for more than one congressperson, had a career that lasted 20 years. However, in 2012, a man came forward and made allegations of improper sexual contact by the 56-year-old aide. The incident purportedly took place when the accuser stayed overnight at the man's home after a gathering. The supposed victim claimed that he was inappropriately touched while he was in a bed in a lower level of the aide's home.
The state has alleged that the man is guilty of also having indecent contact with another man a few years prior to the most recent allegations. The defense presented dozens of character witnesses who attempted to refute the evidence offered by the prosecution. Pennsylvania law allows a defense team to present evidence that the accused has a reputation as a solid citizen, thereby introducing reasonable doubt that the individual is guilty of the crime charged.
As of yet, the jury has not reached a decision in this case. However, for this man, his career as a congressional aide may well be over -- regardless of the eventual outcome -- as his professional reputation may have suffered irreparable harm. He has exercised his right to a vigorous defense against the allegations of indecent sexual assault and his legal team presented additional evidence that the purported victim may have had political motives behind his claims. It is essential to remember that regardless of whether criminal charges have been filed against one, the burden of proof of any alleged crime falls to the prosecution, and a well-prepared defense team can make all the difference.
Source: mcall.com, "Jury begins deliberations in ex-congressional aide's indecent assault trial", Peter Hall, Dec. 14, 2016