XENIA — Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger responded April 3 to allegations made by a House of Representatives candidate against a current representative.
Jocelyn Smith, who is running against current District 73 Representative Rick Perales in the May primary, accused Perales of “kissing and choking” her in his vehicle in January 2015 as well fondling her. She also said he offered to exchange introducing a bill for a specialty license plate benefiting pancreatic cancer for sex. Smith has also said that the two were having a sexting relationship.
In the letter, Rosenberger told Smith — a Fairborn resident — that if the kissing, choking and fondling allegations are true that she should contact law enforcement officials as it does not fall under the Ohio House of Representatives purview.
However Rosenberger said the legislation for sex accusation would “call into question both ethical and legal concerns.”
Rosenberger asked Smith for “information substantiating this allegation.”
“Representative Perales admitted to an inappropriate texting relationship,” said Brad Miller, spokesperson for Rosenberger. “We were all kind of surprised that (choking) had come forward, having not heard anything about that. We were interested in gathering some more information … not rushing to make any judgment. The speaker is very serious about this if there are allegations of (physical abuse).”
In a press release that included a copy of Rosenberger’s letter, Smith said she will do what the speaker said.
“I intend to follow the speaker’s recommendation in doing exactly that,” said Smith, pointing out that she will be speaking to local and state criminal authorities in the very near future.
Smith added that “While (Perales) had previously sought sex regularly from me, there was no single meeting in which he said ‘if you have sex with me, I will pass this bill,’ because by then I had cut all ties with him. However, based on his repeatedly expressed desires, there is absolutely no doubt if I’d slept with him, he would have enthusiastically promoted the legislation. Besides, why would someone refuse to return phone calls about a bill to help people with cancer? He may not be convicted in a court of law, but he deserves to be convicted in the hearts of Ohioans.”
Perales, through campaign manager Daniel Palmer, said Rosenberger’s letter didn’t contain any surprise information.
“Representative Perales has had a chance to look over the speaker’s letter,” Palmer said. “He believes that it’s the appropriate response that the speaker gave. There’s not really much else to it.”
Perales also denies all allegations.
“The representative has had a very consistent story from the beginning that there was no physical contact whatsoever,” Palmer said. “We as a campaign will not continue to be discussing these evolving allegations. It seems her story is not consistent.”
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.