Congressman Don Sherwood Choking Scandal
C-SPAN radio this morning reported on a disturbing situation surrounding Rep. Don Sherwood of Pennsylvania’s 10th District. The story is a few days old but has received little national attention.
Sherwood denies choking woman Exclusive (Wilkes-Barre Times Leader | 04/30/2005)
Police responded to the Washington, D.C., apartment of U.S. Rep. Don Sherwood seven months ago after a woman who was visiting called 911 and reported he choked her. Sherwood, R-Tunkhannock, says he was falsely accused. He pointed to a police report that stated the woman backed off the claim. He also said heÃ¢€™s the victim of a political smear. No one has been charged in what the police termed a domestic incident.
Ã¢€œBoth parties have left out significant information or are not willing to discuss in detail what actually happened,Ã¢€ Washington Metropolitan Police stated in the incident report. Cynthia Ore, 29, of Rockville, Md. locked herself in a bathroom and called 911 from her cell phone on the afternoon of Sept. 15, saying Sherwood Ã¢€œchoked her for no apparent reasonÃ¢€ while giving her a backrub in his apartment on D Street, according to a police report. Sherwood, 64, told police he was giving Ore a backrub when she Ã¢€œjumped upÃ¢€ and ran to the bathroom, the report stated. Police in Washington said they saw no visible injuries on OreÃ¢€™s neck and had trouble getting to the bottom of the story. Ã¢€œBased on interviews with both parties and no physical evidence of injury to (Ore), there was no probable cause to make an arrest or reasonable cause to believe (Ore) was assaulted,Ã¢€ the incident report stated.
Exclusive: Republicans rallying to help Sherwood get past report (Wilkes-Barre Times Leader | 05/03/2005)
Republicans are circling the wagons around U.S. Rep. Don Sherwood, R-Tunkhannock, in the wake of an incident involving a 29-year-old woman in his Washington, D.C., apartment last September. Ã¢€œThe only thing you have in life is your reputation,Ã¢€ said Marge Matisko, an activist with the Luzerne County Republican Party. Ã¢€œDon Sherwood has always been very well-respected, and he always valued that. This has hurt him personally and professionally, and thatÃ¢€™s a shame.Ã¢€
No one was charged in what police termed a domestic incident. Despite an absence of charges, Sherwood may have suffered severe political damage, one pundit says. Ã¢€œHeÃ¢€™s sitting on a hot issue, and one that is potentially damaging,Ã¢€ said Thomas Baldino, a political science professor at Wilkes University. Ã¢€œIf heÃ¢€™s smart, heÃ¢€™ll just come clean.Ã¢€
I’m not sure when political science professors became “pundits” although I suppose several fulfill both roles, giving the proliferation of poli-sci bloggers. Regardless, Baldino is correct. Things have escalated, too, with this op-ed from this morning’s edition of the paper:
OUR OPINION: Constituents deserve the whole story on Sherwood (Wilkes-Barre Times Leader | 05/03/2005)
THE CONSTITUENTS of U.S. Rep. Don Sherwood deserve to know whatÃ¢€™s going on. On Saturday, the Times Leader reported that last fall, Washington D.C. police were called to SherwoodÃ¢€™s apartment in response to a 911 call from a woman who was visiting there. Cynthia Ore, 29, told the police Sherwood choked her.
Defenders of the representative say thereÃ¢€™s much that diffuses this story. The incident happened seven months ago and only came to the attention of the media through one of SherwoodÃ¢€™s past opponents. The woman who called 911 backed off of her claims when police arrived and no charges were filed. Sherwood says the accusations are false and that itÃ¢€™s a political smear.
But itÃ¢€™s not that simple. In the police report, Sherwood says he was giving the woman a back rub. Sherwood has been married for 33 years, according to his own congressional Web site. When Sherwood spoke to Times Leader reporters, he called the woman an acquaintance. He said he didnÃ¢€™t invite her. But then, why let her into his apartment?
Sherwood is a four-term congressman. HeÃ¢€™s a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, Vice Chairman of the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, a member of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education, and a member of the Subcommittee on the Interior. WeÃ¢€™d expect someone with all that responsibility would be smart enough Ã¢€“ savvy enough — not to allow himself to be put into a compromising situation.
One would hope. Sadly, however, we’re not infrequently disappointed when we harbor such expectations. The fact that the woman apparently was not bruised belies her claim of being choked. The “back rub” story, however, is rather implausible.