- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Maine publicist who said she felt “assaulted” by the number of Donald Trump yard signs in her neighborhood admitted in an op-ed for The Washington Post that she and two other women stole and destroyed dozens of signs in a fit of rage.

Betta Stothart and two other women were charged earlier this month with theft for stealing dozens of Trump signs from Route 1 in Falmouth.

“I committed a crime this month, along with two of my friends,” the 52-year-old mother wrote Tuesday. “We’d been talking about the infamous Billy Bush tape and the women who have since come forward to share their own stories of abuse. We were angry. Getting Trump’s name off our median strip seemed like the best way to express our rage.”

Ms. Stothart said she wasn’t particularly proud that she committed a crime, but said she and the other women felt “assaulted by the number of signs.”

“The idea of ‘cleansing’ our streets seemed like the fastest way to restore balance and alleviate our election stress — at least, that night it did,” she explained.

Ms. Stothart said she and the women grabbed about 40 signs in less than 20 minutes.

“At the time, we believed we were doing the right thing,” she wrote. “But the Falmouth police happened to spot us as we were preparing to leave the scene of the crime. The officer was kind, informing us that we had stolen someone else’s personal property, which had not really entered into my mind while I was doing it. He took the signs and sent us home.”

Unbeknownst to Ms. Stothart, the signs belonged to local Falmouth business owner David Jones, chairman of the Making Maine Great Again pro-Trump political action committee. He reportedly filed a complaint against Ms. Stothart and the other women.

“I’m really shocked that people are behaving this way,” Mr. Jones told the Portland Press Herald. “We all have the right to free speech, but apparently some people have a problem with that.”

Ms. Stothart explained in her piece that though she is a Democrat and supports Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, she is not a “deeply political person” nor a “political animal.”

“Reflecting back, I realize that I momentarily snapped,” she wrote. “But there was a deeper reason for my anger than just the signs. Over the past several weeks, grasping the depth of Trump’s predatory behavior toward women throughout his adult life (and even worse, his denial of it) has simply become unbearable. I became unhinged.

“Like so many American women, I have my own story about a powerful man using his position of wealth and influence to demean my integrity and put my job at risk. My version of Trump was a board member of a nonprofit where I worked more than a decade ago,” she continued. “Yes, I was acting out, and I will face, with some humility, my day in court. But at the time, my act felt strangely liberating. I wanted to punish Trump and anyone who could support him.”

Ms. Stothart said she had a lot of explaining and apologizing to do, and she advised others not to stoop to her level.

“It’s not worth it. Find a healthy way to express your outrage. And for God’s sake, please vote,” she concluded.

Ms. Stothart, Martha Murdick and Heidi Kendrick are expected to appear at the Cumberland County Courthouse on Dec. 15, a local CBS News affiliate reported.

The Making Maine Great Again PAC reported in a Facebook post on Oct. 16 that another 200 signs were stolen in Falmouth the night after the women were caught. 

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