March 21, 2018

Delco lawmaker accused of sexual abuse will not seek re-election

Nick Miccarelli maintains his innocence

Politics Nick Miccarelli
Nick Miccarelli - House photo Source/PA House

Nick Miccarelli.

State Rep. Nick Miccarelli will not seek re-election to his seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, according to a statement released Wednesday by his spokesman.

Miccarelli, a Republican representing the 162nd Legislative District in Delaware County, has been accused by two women of physical and sexual abuse. One of them – Republican Rep. Sarah Toohil – obtained a permanent restraining order against Miccarelli.

Miccarelli said he made the decision after consulting with his family, staff and legislative colleagues, according to a statement released by his spokesman, Frank Keel.

"I am making this difficult decision at this time to afford my party the opportunity to designate a new Republican candidate to be placed on the ballot for the May 15th primary election," Miccarelli's statement said. 

"I know this decision will be questioned by my many supporters and loyal constituents who have stood by me through some recent, trying times, but it's in the best interests of me and my family to move on to the next chapter in our lives."

Miccarelli, 35, of Ridley Park, married earlier this year.

His decision comes less than a week after a state House investigation deemed the two women as "credible," according to Philly.com, which cited findings released by a lawyer representing one of the accusers.

The women's statements were corroborated by witnesses that the state House also deemed credible, according to the report.

But Miccarelli – a veteran who is completing his fifth term in the General Assembly – said his decision should not be viewed as an admission of guilt.

"My decision not to seek re-election should in no way be misconstrued by the public or misrepresented by the media as any admission of wrongdoing on my part," his statement said. "I intend to continue to work to clear my good name and reputation and put this current controversial situation behind me, once and for all."

Toohil alleges Miccarelli was physically abusive during a consensual relationship that ended several years ago. She also claims he physically intimidated her at the Capitol this year.

Last week, a judge granted the request of Toohil to extend by three years a temporary protection from abuse order. But Miccarelli made no admission of any wrongdoing.

The order stipulated that Miccarelli could enter the Capitol in Harrisburg, but prevented him from carrying a firearm, except as part of his duties with the National Guard.

Miccarelli had asked the judge to deny the request, saying the case was “baseless.”

Afterward, Miccarelli claimed the order affirmed his innocence, in a March 15 statement released by Keel.

"He looks forward to returning to the state House, resuming his legislative duties, and representing his constituents with the same high level of honor and integrity that have always been his hallmarks," Keel said. "Nick also will be seeking re-election and is confident that his many loyal supporters will send him back to Harrisburg to continue to deliver results for his Delaware County district."

Toohil and another woman – a political consultant who has remained anonymous – filed a confidential complaint on Feb. 8 with a senior House ethics officer and lawyer. They later spoke with Philly.com, which published their claims last month.

The second woman claimed Miccarelli forced her into having sex with him after their relationship ended in 2014.

Miccarelli has continued to deny the allegations. After they first became public – and Republicans and Democrats called for his resignation – Keel released a statement asserting Miccarelli would not step down.

"It needs to be said that the #MeToo movement is laudable, but what about the #NotMe movement?," the statement read. "Nick Miccarelli is an innocent man. An unfortunate byproduct of the #MeToo movement has been a tendency by too many people to rush to judgment in the court of public opinion."

Miccarelli was the only Republican who filed to get onto the primary ballot, but the Republican Party can tap a replacement candidate to face Democrat David Delloso in the general election.