Kentucky State Lawmaker Strangled Woman With Ethernet Cable Until She 'Believed She Was Going To Pass Out,' Police Say

Kentucky Republican Representative Robert Goforth was arrested Tuesday on domestic violence charges, including strangling a woman with an Ethernet cable and threatening to kill her.

Goforth, a former candidate for governor, was charged with assault, felony strangulation and terroristic threatening.

In 2019, Goforth was also accused of sexual misconduct by a woman who claimed in an online petition that Goforth had forced her to have sexual relations with a business associate. Goforth denied the allegations.

"As a husband and father," Goforth told the Commonwealth Journal in January 2019, "sexual assault and violence against women sickens me, and I condemn any such acts in the strongest possible terms."

When contacted for comment, the Laurel County Sheriff's Office directed Newsweek to a press release about Goforth's arrest on its Facebook page. According to that information, deputies responded to a complaint that a woman had shown up at the 911 Dispatch Center asking to speak to a deputy.

"When deputies arrived at 911 dispatch and made contact with the female, they noted that she had visible marks on her forehead, neck and arms," the Sheriff's Office said. "They learned that allegedly there had been an altercation and during the altercation the female victim had been strangled."

According to the arrest citation, Goforth strangled the woman "to the point that she had difficulty breathing and believed she was going to pass out." Goforth also attempted to "hog-tie" the victim.

"Deputies also noted there was bruising to the female victim's leg and that during the altercation the female victim stated that this subject stated he was going to kill her," the statement continued.

Three small children, who were allegedly present during the attack, were reported found safe in the accuser's home.

"It is deeply troubling to see an elected official who is part of our General Assembly being charged with such a serious, potentially fatal type of criminal activity," said the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence in a statement emailed to Newsweek on Tuesday. "We will be following closely the developments of this case as it progresses through the court system. Sadly, it is not altogether shocking to hear about a person who holds a position of such grave responsibility, and power, being charged with a crime of domestic violence."

"We are extremely grateful that the alleged female victim in this instance was able to access the help of law enforcement and that her injuries were not fatal," the statement continued.

In a Tuesday statement, Kentucky Democratic Spokeswoman Marisa McNee said Goforth "must resign immediately."

"This is not the first time a victim of Mr. Goforth's violent assaults has come forward. Republican Leadership has ignored this for far too long." McNee continued. "It is time for them to take action. Goforth needs to go."

Kentucky House Speaker Republican David Osborne said Tuesday that while Republican leaders do not yet have the details of the charges, "the House Majority Caucus unequivocally denounces any form of domestic violence and has zero tolerance for it or its perpetrators."

"A society that values human life must also condemn domestic abuse," Osborne continued. "We each have a moral obligation to not only speak out against domestic violence, but also to recognize that domestic abuse knows no boundaries. Its victims and perpetrators come from every income, race, or socioeconomic status."

Goforth won his district seat as the result of a special election in 2018 after the previous representative resigned. He retained his position after the regular election in 2019.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed a bill in May 2019 which made non-fatal strangulation a felony in the state. It was passed by the State House of Representatives unanimously.

"Women who find themselves victims of strangulation are seven times more likely to be killed," Bevin said during the signing ceremony. "There should be absolutely no tolerance for this whatsoever."
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