Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is preparing to take legal action against his Republican challenger, Rep. Jim Renacci, after the congressman released a statement Thursday evening accusing him of sexual harassment 30 years ago.
Mr. Renacci’s Senate campaign released a lengthy statement by attorney Laura Mills telling the story of a “very credible” and “professional” unnamed woman who has accused Mr. Brown of making “an unexpected, uninvited, unwanted, and sudden advance, roughly pushing her up against a wall” in the late 1980s.
“It did stop after she expressed dismay and very firmly pulled away, explaining that was not her style nor why she was there,” Ms. Mills’ statement read. “He then said he remembered what she had on the day they had met some time earlier and that he had been attracted to her. Although she was able to defuse the situation, it did shake her up and she told friends about it as soon as she got home. They wanted her to report it but, she chose not to do so because it did stop.”
The statement made no mention of when or where the incident allegedly occurred or the events leading up to that point. How the two came to know each other was only explained in that she met him through the “course of her work.” It said she didn’t report the incident because it stopped in that moment.
Ms. Mills is a former business partner and political donor of Mr. Renacci, Cleveland.com reported. Her statement came one day after the Republican told the Cincinnati Enquirer that he’d heard from “multiple women” with abuse allegations against Mr. Brown.
Mr. Brown issued a cease and desist letter to Mr. Renacci demanding he stop “making unsubstantiated and false claims about something that never happened,” or else he would face “legal ramifications,” campaign spokesman Preston Maddock said in a statement.
“Just hours after a cease and desist was sent to Jim Renacci informing him that if he chose to continue making unsubstantiated and false claims about something that never happened he would face legal ramifications, now Jim Renacci’s former business partner and friend, in coordination with Renacci’s campaign, has put out a statement with nothing more than further anonymous and unsubstantiated claims,” Mr. Maddock said, Cleveland.com reported. “Pure and simple this is character assassination by a failed and desperate candidate who every day reaches new lows. This will not be tolerated, all legal means will be pursued against Jim Renacci.”
Mr. Renacci has used Mr. Brown’s contentious 1986 divorce and separate uncorroborated allegations of abuse as a way to paint Mr. Brown as hypocritical for voting “no” on confirming Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who faced his own allegations of sexual misconduct.
Mr. Renacci said in a statement Thursday that this new allegation raises “even more questions and alarm over Mr. Brown’s conduct toward women.
Mr. Brown leads Mr. Renacci by 16 points in the Ohio Senate race, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls.