Several women have come forward and accused North Carolina GOP Representative Madison Cawthorn of sexual assault. Cawthorn, the third-youngest person in history to be elected to Congress (and the youngest since 1965), is a rising star on the GOP’s right wing, and has denied the allegations. This is not the first time he has faced allegations of this nature; he faced similar accusations during his election campaign, which he also denied.
Cawthorn briefly attended Patrick Henry College, a small Christian liberal arts college, where he stayed for just one semester, mostly receiving D grades (which he attributed to a crash two years earlier which left him unable to walk). Buzzfeed reported that several women have alleged they were subjected to sexual harassment by Cawthorn during ‘joy rides’ off-campus in his car, during which the women were subjected to sexually-charged comments, unwanted kissing, and even unwanted touching.
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Ten students even signed an open letter denouncing Cawthorn, which Caitlin Coulter, one of Cawthorn’s alleged victims, posted on Twitter in October 2020. Coulter alleges that Cawthorn repeatedly asked questions about her chastity ring, in what she feels were attempts to get her to talk about sex. The invasive and suggestive questions lasted for around 20 minutes, though Coulter refused to answer them. After this, Coulter claims he whipped the car around and drove quickly back to campus. “It was really scary,” Coulter said. “And just I remember just being very happy to make it back home safely.”
Another of the alleged victims, Karolina Krulikas, was one of two people who said in August 2020 that she’d received an unwanted kiss from Cawthorn. She detailed a 2014 car ride with Cawthorn, saying to Buzzfeed:
“He ends up asking me to come sit closer to him, sit on his lap. I laughed it off as a joke, and he says he just wants to get closer and talk, so I sit on his lap. At that point he tries to kiss me and I say no. And we talk a little bit more, and then he ends up grabbing me really quickly, kind of, like, surprisingly, so that I couldn’t really have time to get away.” Krukilas was one of two women who claimed Cawthorn had forced them to kiss him.
Another accuser of Cawthorn’s, Leah Petree, is currently an intern for a Republican member of Congress. She alleges that Cawthorn repeatedly harassed her to go for a ride in his car, despite her rebuffing him multiple times. He even began parking his car outside her dormitory in an attempt to get her to go for a ride with him. On one occasion, after demanding that she told him what girls she did and didn’t like, he called her a ‘little blonde slutty American girl’.
Petree makes another very serious allegation about Micah Bock, who is Cawthorn’s communications director and who also attended Patrick Henry College. She claims that Bock rubbed his erect penis against her whilst she slept.
About the allegations against Cawthorn, Micah Bock said:
These questions were repeatedly asked and answered during the course of the campaign. The voters of Western North Carolina responded to these allegations by giving Madison Cawthorn a 12-point victory over his opponent. Rep. Cawthorn is now busy doing the work he was elected to do including helping our economy recover from the pandemic, creating jobs and opportunity, making health care more affordable, protecting our natural environment and defending life and our Second Amendment rights.”
Bock said the allegations against him were ‘completely untrue’.
In September, responding to allegations of sexual misconduct, Cawthorn said “If I have a daughter, I want her to grow up in a world where people know to explicitly ask before touching her. If I had a son, I want him to be able to grow up in a world where he would not be called a sexual predator for trying to kiss someone.”