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Anti-gay Ohio representative resigns after being caught in flagrante with another man

Posted at 10:06 PM, Nov 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-19 10:49:30-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- First-term Republican State Rep. Wesley Goodman did not provide a reason for his sudden resignation Nov. 14, but the Columbus Dispatch did: The married, faith-focused, anti-LGBTQ politician had been caught having sex with another man in his office.

The Dispatch reported that news of the incident reached House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, who said he met privately with Goodman later in the day.

"He acknowledged and confirmed the allegations," Rosenberger said in a statement. "It became clear that his resignation was the most appropriate course of action for him, his family, the constituents of the 87th House District and this institution."

Goodman, a Cardington native and Ohio Wesleyan graduate, touted himself as a conservative Christian Republican voice who favored "natural marriage" and whose wife helped organize the annual anti-abortion March for Life. In his private life, however, Goodman had faced allegations of sexual misconduct involving other men even before his election.

The Washington Post reported Friday that Goodman had in 2015 been accused of attempting to undress and fondle an 18-year-old college student at a campaign fundraiser. According to the Post, "the frightened teenager fled the room and told his mother and stepfather, who demanded action" from event organizers. 

Private correspondence indicated those organizers asked Goodman to drop out of the race, but he refused and was elected to the state legislature in 2016. 

"We all bring our own struggles and our own trials into public life," Goodman said in a statement announcing his resignation. "That has been true for me, and I sincerely regret that my actions and choices have kept me from serving my constituents and our state in a way that reflects the best ideals of public service. For those whom I have let down, I'm sorry."

His resignation is the latest to hit the Ohio Legislature since sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein surfaced, touching off a national wave of similar alleged misconduct by entertainers, politicians and others.

Veteran Ohio Sen. Clifford Hite, a Republican from Findlay, resigned Oct. 16 after a sexual harassment complaint was filed against him. According to an investigative memo, Hite had inappropriate conversations and physical contact with a female legislative staff member for two months and repeatedly propositioned her for sex.

The Ohio House subsequently released a cache of documents requested by reporters that showed three state representatives had been disciplined and a staff aide had been fired following harassment claims in recent years.

Then on Monday, Senate Democrats' chief of staff, Michael Premo, resigned abruptly over unspecified allegations of inappropriate conduct. His single-sentence resignation email provided no details.