Holyoke, Mass., Mayor Alex Morse (D), a progressive who is challenging Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass), responded to allegations of sexual misconduct on Hill TV’s “Rising” after the University of Massachusetts launched an investigation into the claims.
Three College Democrats chapters released a letter last week claiming Morse used his power as mayor and guest lecturer to coerce students into sexual relationships. Morse indicated Sunday that he would remain in the race amid the allegations and investigation by the university.
Morse, who is 31 and has been mayor of Holyoke since he was 22, said on Tuesday that although he has matched with college students on dating apps, they have never been in his classes. He also denied ever being involved in nonconsensual sexual relationships.
“One thing I will not apologize for is being a young person and having other consensual adult relationships,” Morse told Hill.TV. “I want to be very clear: Never in my adult life have I been part of a nonconsensual relationship or sexual encounter with anyone.”
Morse claimed that the allegations had been “shopped around” to major news outlets that refused to print them because they couldn’t get anyone to speak on record. The allegations were reported by The Massachusetts Daily Collegian and then picked up by national outlets.
“[The media] has given more scrutiny to my personal sex life than they have ever given scrutiny to Congressman Neal’s corruption and the way in which he has used his power over a 30-year period,” Morse said.
Morse, who is backed by the progressive group Justice Democrats, also said that he finds it “suspicious” that the letter surfaced three weeks before election.
“I think it’s interesting that three weeks out of the election we’re talking about my personal sex life and not talking about a nonresponsive, unaccountable corporate Democrat, and not talking about an abuse of power,” Morse said.