Several candidates for South Dakota state representative arrested on rape allegations

Victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sex abuse and their supporters protest during a #MeToo march on November 12, 2017 in Hollywood, California.  Several hundred women gathered outside the Dolby Theater in Hollywood before marching to the CNN building for a rally.  / AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Content Warning: Discussion of rape/sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence, and murder.

The midterm election may be (mostly) over, but some candidates are still making headlines for the worst of reasons.

According to court records, Bud Marty May, a 37-year-old Republican who recently lost an election to his mother, incumbent GOP Rep. Liz May, has been arrested and charged with second-degree rape. This is a felony and carries a penalty of up to 50 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. The criminal complaint also alleges that May used “force, coercion or the threat of direct and serious bodily harm” in the attack.

The unnamed victim said May raped her in the bar’s toilet stall, where she was found by police officers.

May originally claimed he wasn’t involved at first, then withdrew his statement, claiming the attack was “simply a hug.” When asked if the alleged attack was consensual, it said Argus leaderMay had the disgusting response, “I’m 6-foot-8, it’s all consensual.”

May’s lawyer has not yet commented.

To make matters worse, May’s neighboring county also had a candidate who was accused of similar behavior. Joel Matthew Koskan, who is running for office in South Dakota’s District 26, was arrested before the election and charged with child molestation after a family member came forward and accused him of grooming, molestation and rape. Despite the possible crime, he had apparently been offered a plea deal that could result in him not serving a prison sentence.

Both point to a larger trend of politicians getting away with allegedly inappropriate or overtly criminal behavior.

Back in 2018, The conversation revealed, “Of the 138 government officials accused of sexual misconduct in the #MeToo era, 24 percent remain in office today.”

While we’ve seen some progress with the likes of Andrew Cuomo stepping down, there were still at least 9 midterm candidates facing domestic violence/sexual assault charges. One man even won his candidacy while in prison for his wife’s murder (although he withdrew from voting shortly thereafter).

While the losses of some of these candidates indicate that some progress has been made, some of them have won, with large numbers of voters still showing willingness to vote for them, indicating a larger looming problem.

According to USA Today “[e]For example, 83 percent of Democrats said an allegation of sexual misconduct or abuse would be a serious problem, compared to 66 percent of GOP respondents.”

Both numbers are way too low in my opinion, especially considering these people make laws that could and do make it harder for victims to seek justice. 109 Republican lawmakers voted against a bill that would ban the use of NDAs to silence victims of sexual assault/harassment in the workplace.

All of this feeds on itself. Fair elections may be part of democracy, but so is justice, and if we really hope to create a ‘more perfect union’ then we need to make sure those we elect are actually on the stand on the side of justice.

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