Friday, July 1, 2011

Rape victim to Hodes: “It’s not a laughing matter”

October 20, 2010 by ShawnMillerick  
Filed under HP_Featured, News & Politics

A woman who said she was sexually assaulted by a man being represented by Paul Hodes had to admonish Hodes during a 1992 deposition for laughing while she testified how the man “pinned [her] up backwards against his desk” and “tried to get [her] down onto the floor,” according to a transcript.

“I was crying and yelling pretty loudly, I thought,” the victim stated in response to Hodes’ questioning. “It’s not a laughing matter.”

“I know,” responded Hodes. “I’m not laughing at you. I’m not laughing. I’m just listening.”

After a jury awarded the woman $90,000, Hodes suggested the woman was “motivated to lie for money,” according to a New Hampshire Union Leader story at the time.

Hodes

Hodes, a Congressmen representing New Hampshire’s second district, is the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate. He faces former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, a Republican, in the November General Election to replace the retiring Judd Gregg.

As he has slipped in the polls, Hodes has begun to attack Ayotte on what he calls “issue[s] of integrity, credibility and character.”

Meanwhile, Hodes has worked hard to court the women vote. In addition to launching a 1,000 Women for Hodes coalition for his campaign, he promises on his website, “I will always stand up for the rights of New Hampshire women to make decisions over their own body.”

NowHampshire.com contacted the Hodes campaign for comment on the 1992 deposition. “We won’t comment without seeing any and all documents you’re referring to,” said his spokesman Matt House. “Please email them over.” We shared the relevant portions of the transcript but heard nothing back from the campaign.

The New Hampshire chapter of NOW did not respond to our request for comment.

After a short break in the deposition, Hodes insisted he had not laughed as the woman recounted the story of her sexual assault.

“I certainly apologize if you took anything I did as laughing at you,” Hodes said. “I understand how serious this is, and I take it very seriously. And I’m not – certainly am not laughing at you, and don’t mean to. I just want to tell you that I apologize. I know how sensitive and difficult this is, and I see from your reaction how sensitive it is.”

Hodes was representing David Decker, a former attorney from Laconia in a civil suit against “a client accusing him of malpractice in sexually assaulting her in 1989,” according to a December 28, 1993 report in the New Hampshire Union Leader.

The Union Leader’s Paula Tracy went on to report:

Decker, who has since withdrawn from the practice of law in the state, faces four similar allegations in two courts and a criminal charge of perjury stemming from those allegations. This is the first of the trials to go forward. Ruth J. Thomas of Belmont, a registered nurse and a mother of several children, claims she went to Decker to handle a divorce in 1989 and was subjected to forcibly being kissed, pinned to the wall and fondled in his office at 11 Academy St. She said Decker exposed himself, forced her to touch him, and at one point attempted to force himself on her.

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