Ohio State Rep. Wes Goodman, who is married and has opposed LGBT rights throughout his political career, resigned from his position when confronted with evidence of a sexual encounter with another man inside in his office.
Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) met with Goodman, 33, on the afternoon of Nov. 14, after he became aware of the incident in the lawmaker’s Riffe Center office, according toThe Columbus Dispatch. Later that day Goodman,a first-term Republican representing Cardington, stepped down.
“I was alerted to details yesterday afternoon regarding his involvement in inappropriate behavior related to his state office,” Rosenberger said in a statement Nov. 15. “I met with him later in the day where he acknowledged and confirmed the allegations. 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.”
He told cleveland.com the “inappropriate interaction” that happened several months ago betweenGoodman and a man not employed by the legislature was consensual and did not constitute sexual harassment.
Goodman said the following in a statement on Wednesday:
“We all bring our own struggles and our own trials into public life. 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.”
He previously was an aide to U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana), creating “pro-family and pro-liberty” policies. Goodman later served as managing director for the Conservative Action Project, “where he says he ‘led the fight for conservative principles like a balanced budget, lower taxes, repealing Obamacare, life, and religious liberty,'” according to the Dispatch.
Cleveland.com reports that Goodman’s campaign websitedescribed his views on family as: “Healthy, vibrant, thriving, values-driven families are the source of Ohio’s proud history and the key to Ohio’s future greatness. The ideals of a loving father and mother, a committed natural marriage, and a caring community are well worth pursuing and protecting.” The page on his site has been removed.
Sexual Assault Accusation
In 2015, Goodman was accused of sexual misconduct toward an 18-year-old student following his fundraiser event in Washington, D.C. The student “who had come to the event with his parents said the candidate unzipped his pants and fondled him in the middle of the night,” according toThe Washington Post.
The teen informed his parents, who confronted the head of the organization hosting the conference. Tony Perkins, president of the Council for National Policy (CNP),anadvocacy groupthat says that homosexuality “can never be affirmed,”suspended Goodman from the council. He privately told Goodman to drop out of the race, but he didn’t. Goodman continued his campaign, winning his seat a year ago.
According toThe New York Times, Goodman had other encounters with men.
In late 2010 or early 2011, Goodman was working for Rep. Jordan when he met with Johnny Hadlock, 33. They formed a friendship, and Hadlock said some of the texts messages Goodman sent were “‘sexual’ and ‘salacious’ and that they once had phone sex.” He said the two communicated on Facebook until 2014.
Another man, Chris Donnelly, 32, told the Times that in 2008, he posted an online ad seeking a sexual encounter and Goodman responded. The politician asked Donnelly to keep it a secret.
“But after Mr. Goodman won the Ohio Republican primary in 2016, Mr. Donnelly said he described the encounter to a Republican political operative who promised that officials would speak to Mr. Goodman,” theTimes reports. “It was not clear to Mr. Donnelly what, if any, action had been taken.”
“It annoyed me that they didn’t think there was anything wrong with the hypocrisy of it,” Donnelly said.
Goodman is the third Ohio state lawmaker to have resigned in less than a month. Last week, Senate Democratic Chief of Staff Mike Premo resigned following a complaint of inappropriate behavior by a staffer. And, Sen. Cliff Hite (R-Findlay) also resigned in late October following a staffer’s complaint of sexual harassment.