Why is the GOP so accepting of the groomers, pedophiles and rapists inside their own party?
A Violent Rape in Idaho
On August 31 in Idaho, former GOP state representative Aaron von Ehlinger was sentenced to 20 years in prison for violently raping a teenage intern.
According the CBS affiliate in Boise:
Ada County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Katelyn Farley said von Ehlinger not only violated the woman’s soul and sense of security, but also her dreams and aspirations of working in politics.
In an audio tape played in court the victim said:
“I have never felt more ashamed, belittled, powerless, and dehumanized. How can I recount the terror my body was going through that evening? Have you ever tasted the blood from biting the inside of your lips because you couldn't say no loud enough? Have you ever felt buried alive in your own flesh that your screams stay trapped on the tip of your tongue?”
Even in her own home, with an alarm system and cameras, she said she has little sense of security.
"I will never forget the strength and force of his grip," she said.
According to NBC News:
The judge said von Ehlinger failed to show empathy or remorse, and that it was clear he was not ready for sex offender treatment. The sentence would at least deter von Ehlinger from committing another crime while he is incarcerated, Reardon said.
Von Ehlinger will be required to serve at least eight years before he will be eligible for parole.
An Internet Pedophile in Texas
Also in August, Lucas “Luke” Bowen, the political director of Texas Right to Life was arrested and charged with soliciting sex from a minor online.
Part of Bowen’s job at Texas Right to Life was to defend Texas’ controversial SB8 law that argues, in effect, that rapists and incest perpetrators should be allowed to choose the mothers of their children.
Bowen is not the first pedophile and would-be child rapist to use his anti-choice activism as cover for his perversions.
Ruben Verastigui, who later worked for the Trump campaign and, famously, got so close to GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel that he was entrusted to take the media headshot she used before, during and after his conviction on child porn offenses, first came the GOP’s notice as an anti-choice activist.
When arrested, as Law & Crime reported, Verastigui had “162 videos and more than 50 images of child pornography on his phone, admitting that he called material depicting the sexual abuse of babies his ‘absolute favorite.’”
Verastigui was sentenced earlier this year to 151 months in prison.
Meanwhile, Lucas Bowen is out on $50,000 bond an expected to appear in court again in September.
A Sexual Assault in Alabama
Also in August, Perry Oliver Hooper Jr., 67, was charged with first-degree sex abuse in Montgomery, Alabama.
Hooper is a former AL state representative and was the cochair of Trump’s 2016 Alabama campaign. He is alleged to have groped a woman in public, in a restaurant, “while shoving his pelvis against the victim’s backside.”
Hooper’s M.O. is, of course, reminiscent of Trump’s own technique for assaulting women, which has been inspiring MAGA Republicans to assault, threaten and harass women for the past six years.
In November 2016, the Southern Poverty Law Center issued a report detailing “900 reports of harassment and intimidation” in the 10 days following the 2016 election in which “many harassers invoked Trump’s name during assaults, making it clear that the outbreak of hate stemmed in large part from his electoral success.”
In 2018, Bruce Alexander, a 49-year-old Southwest Airlines passenger who physically assaulted a female passenger on his flight told arresting officers that “the president of the United States says it’s OK to grab women by their private parts.”
To give them some credit, on August 25 the Alabama Republican Party, where Perry Hooper is a member of the Executive Committee, issued a statement saying it, “strongly condemns all forms sexual abuse and sexual assault” and “will be monitoring this situation closely as it makes its way through the judicial process.”
Why give the Alabama GOP any credit, you might ask, for issuing a statement that does the bare minimum in a situation like this?
Because at the national level the GOP has been so corrupted—and has become so pro-sex criminal—that such a statement doesn’t even get made when the worst crimes against children are committed.
Case in point: I am unable to find a similar statement anywhere online from Ronna McDaniel about her former GOP portrait photographer and now-convicted baby-rape enthusiast Ruben Verastigui.
The three examples above are all taken from August 2022 news reports and represent the tip of the iceberg in terms of the rampant rape, sexual abuse, harassment and pedophilia that has become acceptable to many in the GOP in the age of Trump.
I would like to, once again, salute the work of Twitter user @cajsa, who I interviewed here in December 2021. Her list of #RepublicanSexualPredators is available online as a Google doc to any journalists or documentarians who want it.
Further reading: In April 2021, I wrote about Trump and alleged sex trafficker Matt Gaetz here. In May 2021, I wrote about the ever-growing list of Republican and Trump-connected child rapists, sex traffickers, pedophile enablers and child porn offenders here. In August 2021, I wrote a follow-up to that article here. In April 2022, I wrote about RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel’s role in enabling sexual abusers here. In July, wrote about Jim Jordan’s long career in turning a blind eye to sex crimes here.
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