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National News

Women allege sexual misconduct against North Carolina GOP lawmaker Madison Cawthorn

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Women allege sexual misconduct against North Carolina GOP lawmaker Madison Cawthorn

2021-03-02 05:36:18

By Dwaipayan

Madison Cawthorn is facing allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct by several women who say he put them in uncomfortable situations when he was a college student, with the former classmates.

Allegations of sexual misconduct by Cawthorn, who at age 25 is the youngest member of Congress, have followed him since he launched his run for North Carolina's 11th Congressional District. But the claims have gained renewed attention as the freshman congressman's popularity has steadily increased in some Republican corners following his move earlier this year to Washington, where he has closely aligned himself with some of his far-right colleagues and former President Donald Trump's lie that the November election was illegitimate.

Cawthorn has repeatedly denied wrong-doing since the allegations first surfaced. The women alleging misconduct against the congressman are former classmates of his at Patrick Henry College in Virginia. Cawthorn attended the private Christian school for a short time in 2016 before dropping out, and it was during that time that the women say he made unwanted advances on them.

"His MO was to take vulnerable women out on these rides with him in the car, and to make advances," Caitlin Coulter, one of Cawthorn's former classmates, told CNN in an interview.

Coulter said she was taken on something Cawthorn called a "fun drive," where he asked about her purity ring and her sexual experiences. She says she felt something was off and shut down the conversation. "He got really upset. And he whipped the car around and started going back to campus at 70-80 miles an hour on these one-lane roads," she said. "And it was it was really scary."

The Post story also poked holes in parts of Cawthorn's recounting of his personal story, including details related to a 2014 car accident.

"There was a lot of sexual innuendo," said Leah Petree, another former student at the school. "It got really uncomfortable walking to and from class. He would yell out, 'Are you ready to take that fun drive today?'"

In addition to the claims by the former Patrick Henry students, at least two women have also alleged that Cawthorn had forcibly kissed or touched them years ago, claims he has previously denied. He said last year that he regretted actions he took and apologized to anybody he "made feel uncomfortable."

"Looking back, I wish I could have changed my actions. If I made somebody feel uncomfortable in a situation, that is never my goal," he said.

But the allegations from Cawthorn's time in college were widely known among former students so much so that in October, more than 150 former students signed onto a letter blasting the then-candidate for his behavior during his stint at the school, which they wrote "was marked by gross misconduct towards our female peers."

 

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