Ohio senator Sherrod Brown’s ex-wife Larke defended her husband against what she called “political attacks,” speaking on her husband’s behalf as he runs for re-election against Republican Jim Renacci.
But the explanation is not sitting well with the lieutenant governor of Ohio, Mary Smith.
“I appreciate that Larke was able to forgive Sen. Brown for the sake of peace in her family. She is not alone, this is normal behavior for domestic violence survivors. However, this doesn’t alter the court documented facts that this happened,” Mary Smith said in a statement.
The MeToo Ohio PAC led by Smith is not backing away from the issue, and the court records are being heard across the state.
“Court documents show that Brown was accused of assaulting his ex-wife Larke Ummel Brown and acting cruelly toward her and the couple’s two small children.
Larke Brown lobbed damaging accusations against Sherrod, then the Ohio Secretary of State, in her 1986 complaint for divorce:
“Plaintiff further states that Defendant has been guilty of gross neglect of duty and extreme cruelty toward her, by reason of which Plaintiff is entitled to an absolute divorce.
“I am also intimidated by the Defendant and am in fear for the safety and well-being of myself and our children due to the Defendant’s physical violence and abusive nature,” Larke Brown wrote in her affidavit requesting a restraining order, dated May 12, 1986.
A judge in the Court of Common Pleas of Franklin County, Ohio, granted Larke Brown a restraining order from the future senator, according to a document dated May 12, 1986.
Sherrod Brown disputed his wife’s claims, saying in his counterclaim for divorce, dated June 10, 1986, that he “has never been abusive or violent with Wife or anyone else.”
The seven-count restraining order barred Sherrod Brown from harassing Larke in person or over the phone, selling or disposing of the couple’s assets, changing beneficiaries or cashing out life insurance policies on Larke or their children, and from “coming in or around the Plaintiff’s residence … except for purposes of visitation with the parties’ minor children.”
Larke claimed that Brown violated the restraining order when he visited her residence to pick up their children, according to an October 1986 affidavit:
“[Brown] refused to return to the car, pushed me up against the wall with his arms in order to pass and entered the house. He refused to leave and began to say insulting, derogatory things about me, my mothering of the children and my character in front of my friends and the children … [Brown] then cornered one of my friends … and again started on his tirade of character assassination. … [I] felt physically threatened because of [Brown’s] combative tone and his assault on [me] at the entrance to the house.”
Larke’s affidavit continues:
“He has struck and bullied me on several different occasions, he has completely destroyed my peace of mind and I am extremely intimidated by him … [Brown] has embarked on a course of conduct designed to destroy the children’s peace of mind by making slanderous and defamatory remarks about [me] to them, as well as insisting that they repeat untruthful things that [Brown] had coached them to state.”
The restraining order was dropped in January 1987 when the two parties agreed to settle the divorce, according to court documents.”
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