Hides from reporter, and has his mother answer the tough questions
A former University of Montana student has come forward to say that she was sexually assaulted four years ago, when she was a student, by Nicholas Schwaderer, who is now a GOP candidate for the Montana state legislature. The accuser, Laura Williams, says she had thirteen drinks on her birthday and was sexually assaulted in her drunken semi-conscious state.
Schwaderer denies the allegations and notes that the police conducted an investigation and that no charges were filed. He has also threatened a defamation suit against anybody making “slanderous statements” against him.
It’s a little murky, from today’s explosive Missoulian story, whether the University or the DA’s office ever fully or sufficiently conducted an investigation into the woman’s allegations. Also unclear is what type of physical evidence exists. The woman seems to imply there is, or was, documentation of bruises and other injuries, but the article refers specifically only to a bloody nose, that Schwaderer says occurred when they accidentally butted heads during a consensual encounter. No charges were ever filed by prosecutors and the Missoula DA Fred Van Valkenberg says the case wasn’t charged because it “lacked proof.” This should concern us because assaults often occur without leaving a physical trace. Sometimes, the victim’s testimony is all we have.
Also, the woman says that she approached Will Deschamps, the Montana GOP chair, telling him that that Schwaderer was bad news and should be discouraged from running. Deschamp basically told her to scram.
The last thing UM needs right now is a rape allegation that was not taken as seriously and professionally as possible by the University administration. But it seems, at a minimum, that the Dean of Students looked into the matter and found enough to suspend the student registration of Schwaderer. Right now, the Dean of Students will not comment on the case because it involves private sexual and medical affairs of a former student. But the student herself seems to be waiving that privilege, so perhaps more facts will come to light in the future.
Also, while Schwaderer is entitled to the presumption of innocence here, there is one thing that we have all learned definitively about him from reading the Missoulian piece: Schwaderer, as a candidate, is not yet ready for prime time. As the article recounts, when the Missoulian reporter called Schwaderer to get his response to these allegations, he handed the phone to his mother to respond on his behalf. She, in turn, had a lawyer send an email to a reporter.
When legislators cast votes, they are not allowed to have their mother with them in the chamber to help them out, nor their lawyers, nor their guardian angel, nor their favorite teddy bear. The legislature is for adults. And while it’s fine to live with your mom, you can’t have her stand in for you when a reporter calls to ask you whether or not you sexually assaulted somebody. Nor can you have your lawyer answer. You are running for office. You must directly answer these questions.
So perhaps Schwaderer should be looking for a different line of work, something other than politics.
As for his background and qualifications for office, Schwaderer lists among his previous jobs a stint at the Montana Policy Institute, where he says he “learned how to scrutinize policy.” For those of you that are not familiar with the MPI, it is a right-wing think tank based in Bozeman that publishes the Montana Watchdog. As to his philosophical beliefs, he says in an audio statement on his campaign website that he believes that “in a truly free society, the government will not be the avenue of first resort for problems that can be solved by family, friendship and community.”
And, a tipster informed me today that Schwaderer has been an active comment blogger on the Missoulian blog called Missoula Red Tape.
And here is an excerpt of a comment he recently blogged, in a discussion about HIV and discrimination against lesbians and gays:
I’m a “closet libertarian”, so you can guess where I personally stand on the issue. That said I don’t see the relevance of “debating” the origins of HIV, how clean a colon is or where we’re intended to have sex.
That said, I’ve seen some pretty scary vaginas.. And as for “intended to have sex”- even us straight blokes won’t object to the occasional blowy, yeah?
By “blowy” I assume he means blowjob.
Well, he’s gonna get another kind of blowied: blowied out, as in, he’s gonna get his ass kicked in his race for the legislature. My guess is that the GOP will not spend a dime on him, and that the Dems, consequently, will pick up a seat that would usually go Republican.