Ohio House Speaker investigating claims that state lawmaker choked, kissed opponent years ago

Ohio House Speaker investigating claims that state lawmaker choked, kissed opponent years ago
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Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger will investigate claims that Rep. Rick Perales (R) kissed and choked his current primary opponent for a state House seat.

Jocelyn Smith — Perales’s Republican primary opponent — claims that Perales kissed and choked her, and has threatened to make public sexual text messages between the two if he does not step down, the Dayton Daily News reported.

“We’re still in the information-gathering phase and the Speaker takes all of this very seriously,” the speaker’s press secretary, Brad Miller, said. “But at the time being we want to make sure the truth comes out and that we don’t rush to any kind of judgment.”

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Perales denies the allegations that he choked or kissed Smith but admits that the had a short relationship with his opponent that included sexual text messages.

Smith said that in January 2015, she met with Perales in a restaurant and he turned the conversation to sex. They then went into his car where he allegedly kissed her and choked her almost to the point of passing out.

She did not report him to the police and said she continued interacting with Perales because she thought it would help her accomplish her political goals.

Perales says they began trading sexually explicit texts in January 2015 that involved Smith sending him a topless photo. Smith denies sending such a photo or any sexual texts, the Dayton Daily News reported.

According to Miller, Perales told the speaker about the matter in 2016 and Rosenberger agreed that it “should not be happening.”

The winner of the Republican primary will face off against Democrat Kim McCarthy in November. McCarthy has said the allegations suggest Perales is not fit for office.

“At their least, these allegations indicate an inappropriate relationship, which suggests that Mr. Perales is not genuinely focused on doing his job as a representative,” McCarthy told the Dayton Daily News in an email. “At worst, it is assault, showing character unsuitable for public office.”