Pa. House report: Lawmaker retaliated against his accuser
State Rep. Nick Miccarelli violated the House's policy on retaliation when he publicly outed on social media the name of a woman who has accused him of sexual assault, according to previously undisclosed portions of a House report.
HARRISBURG — State Rep. Nick Miccarelli violated a House policy on retaliation when he outed on Facebook a woman who has accused him of sexual assault, according to previously undisclosed portions of a House report obtained by the Inquirer, Daily News, and the Caucus.
Despite the finding, House leaders have not sanctioned the Delaware County Republican — and there are no plans to do so.
Miccarelli, according to an unredacted summary of the report, had been warned by House lawyers investigating the allegations not to take any action that could be viewed as retaliatory against two women who had filed a confidential complaint alleging physical or sexual assault. The House Republicans' sexual-harassment policy prohibits retaliation against anyone who alleges or reports harassment.
Republican House leaders, who have received a copy of the investigative report, have called on Miccarelli to resign, but say they are constrained from punishing him for retaliation because he is an elected official.
"If this were an employee, it would be black and white," House GOP spokesman Steve Miskin said in an interview Tuesday.
Concern about about Miccarelli's Facebook post factored into the leaders' call for his resignation, Miskin said.
Miccarelli published the name of one of his accusers — a political consultant who had asked to remain anonymous — in a Facebook post in which he also called the allegations "lies." The other woman, State Rep. Tarah Toohil (R., Luzerne), has publicly revealed her identity.
In a statement, Frank Keel, a spokesman for the representative, did not address why Miccarelli posted the anonymous accuser's name. But, he countered, "the truth is Nick Miccarelli is the one who's being retaliated against by two former, vengeful girlfriends who have yet to produce one bit of evidence to support their outrageous allegations."
He added: "The anonymous accuser Nick named in a Facebook post many weeks ago is retaliating against him because he opted to see other women at the time they were dating and she wanted to be with him exclusively. That decision by Nick broke her heart, so now she's trying to break Nick in half."
Miccarelli has vigorously denied that he sexually or physically assaulted the women. Both accusers had consensual relationships with him at one time.
Miccarelli has also rebuffed resignation calls. Instead, he announced last month that he will not seek reelection when his term ends later this year. Miccarelli, an Army veteran of the Iraq war, remains a sergeant in the Pennsylvania National Guard.
Under the House GOP's sexual-harassment policy, any effort to "avoid, hinder or corrupt the complaint or investigation process" could result in punishment that includes termination.
House lawyers were still investigating the assault allegations when Miccarelli posted the consultant's name. Miccarelli did so after the Inquirer, Daily News, and the Caucus revealed in late February that she and Toohil had filed a complaint against him with the House.
In the Feb. 28 Facebook post, Miccarelli said among other things that he and the consultant had dated until 2015, and that the two had exchanged texts and spoken after the relationship ended.
He has declined repeated requests to provide copies of text exchanges.
House lawyers wrapped up their investigation last month. A March 14 summary of their findings, provided to lawyers both for Miccarelli and his two accusers, said that investigators found the women "credible."
Terry Mutchler, who represents Toohil and the political consultant, said in an interview that Miccarelli also has disseminated "intimate" photos that the consultant shared with him during the consensual part of their relationship.
"It is retaliation which he had been warned not to engage in," said Mutchler. "And it is an attempt to scare my clients into silence."
In their confidential complaint, filed with the House on Feb. 8, the political consultant and Toohil alleged sexual or physical abuse by Miccarelli in separate incidents spanning six years.
Toohil, 38, said Miccarelli physically abused her when they dated in 2012, and last month she obtained a restraining order against him. As part of a negotiated agreement, Miccarelli admitted no wrongdoing.
The order restricts Miccarelli's ability to possess firearms and limits his contact with Toohil to official business at the Capitol, where the two come face to face on the House floor and in regularly scheduled, closed-door meetings of Republican members. The two also still sit on the same House committee, though Toohil has expressed concerns to House leaders about that arrangement.
One sitting lawmaker holding a restraining order over another legislator is unprecedented, at least in modern history.
The political consultant alleged Miccarelli forced her to have sex in 2014, after they had stopped dating.
After completing its investigation, the House forwarded its findings to the Dauphin County District Attorney's Office, which is conducting its own investigation. That inquiry is ongoing.