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Ohio House Republicans Deny They Covered Up For Wes Goodman

Former Ohio Rep. Wes Goodman
Ohio House of Representatives
Former Ohio Rep. Wes Goodman

More information, including allegations of harassment, is coming out against the now former Ohio Rep. Wes Goodman. The top staff leader for House Republicans says they’ve been fielding rumors about Goodman for more than a year but, until this month, there was nothing to act on.

When Goodman was running for a seat in the Ohio House last year, rumors started to circulate that the married, right-wing candidate, who was making a name for himself with his anti-LGBT messaging, was gay.

The first time House Republican Chief of Staff Mike Dittoe says he heard anything about this was early last year, when someone wanted the caucus to know about the hypocrisy of Goodman’s message.

“He was disappointed that Rep. Goodman had anti-LGBT rhetoric on his campaign website but was telling us that candidate Goodman was in fact gay,” Dittoe says.

What Dittoe and other House leaders knew, and when, is starting to come out in the aftermath of Goodman’s resignation from the House. Goodman was asked to leave when he was caught in “inappropriate conduct” in his state office with another man.

“To allege any sort of cover up is an absolute mis-characterization of the events,” Dittoe says.

Dittoe acknowledges he heard rumors of explicit social media messages. And eventually, that included screenshots of a sexually charged text message conversation between Goodman and an unnamed man. But Dittoe and the House legal team determined that these were not instances that they could act on.

“The person was alleging that Rep. Goodman might be gay and having social media contacts with people outside of his marriage," Dittoe said. "That is not really within our purview, our purview is what happens with House staff and personnel within the House.”

Dittoe says Goodman would always deny the claims, adding that they never received allegations that Goodman was engaged in inappropriate behavior with House staff.

According to Dittoe, the first time a House staffer made any kind of complaint was when it regarded the conduct inside his office which led to Goodman’s resignation.