Gus Bickford, the chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, reportedly plans an investigation into the conduct of college student leaders behind unsubstantiated allegations of sexual misconduct against gay congressional candidate Alex Morse.
“The state party has a policy to stay out of primary elections, so Bickford will convene the group after the Sept. 1 primary to avoid weighing in on the race. The College Democrats of Massachusetts did not respond to a request for comment last night,” POLITICO reported Thursday.
Sean Meloy, senior political director for the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which has endorsed Morse, applauded the development.
“We commend the party chair for recognizing the importance of investigating this orchestrated political hit job on Alex, but we urge him to conduct an independent investigation immediately so voters can fill out their ballots with all the information available to them,” Meloy said in a statement. “We now know the leadership of UMass Amherst College Democrats was conspiring to damage Alex’s campaign since at least October. Yet they chose to release the information ten months later – literally as ballots dropped in voters’ mailboxes — and motivated by hopes of a future political career with Alex’s opponent. We said from the beginning that the allegations were timed with the political calendar and that it is a disservice to voters and to everyone involved. Now we know that timing was purposeful.
“While these allegations appear to be a political stunt, it is important to underscore how damaging lies can be to the fact that most sexual harassment allegations are true,” Meloy added. “We must ensure students and all people have safe ways to report cases of sexual harassment and that their cases are taken seriously and fully investigated.”
Meanwhile, Morse’s opponent in the Sept. 1 primary, longtime Democratic Congressman Richard Neal, issued a statement denying any involvement in the allegations, according to MassLive.com.
“Any implications that I or anyone from my campaign are involved are flat wrong and an attempt to distract from the issue at hand,” Neal said in a statement. “I have been and will remain entirely focused on the respective records of myself and Mayor Morse.
“I learned about the allegations against Mayor Morse the same way everyone else did, in The Daily Collegian last week,” he added. “I also want to be clear I will not tolerate my name being associated with any homophobic attacks or efforts to criticize someone for who they choose to love. That’s inconsistent with my character and my values.”
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