Rep. Tarah Toohil obtained the restraining order against fellow House member, Rep. Nick Miccarelli, who she once dated, out of fear for her life. The restraining order bars Miccarelli from contacting her or being around where she lives or works.
State Rep. Tarah Toohil on Friday obtained a protection-from-abuse order against a fellow Republican House member who she has alleged in a complaint pointed a gun at her in 2012, threatening to kill her and himself by crashing his car while driving 100 mph.
Toohil, R-Luzerne County, obtained the order from a judge in her home county against sitting five-term incumbent Rep. Nick Miccarelli of Delaware County, with whom she once had a dating relationship, confirmed Terry Mutchler, who along with law partner Charlie Lyons, is representing her.
“From the beginning, she was in fear for her life and it was on that basis that the judge issued the temporary order,” Mutchler said. “A hearing will be held next week to determine whether the temporary order will stay in place.”
A spokesman for Miccarelli, who is under investigation by the Dauphin County District Attorney’s office as well as House of Representatives, denounced the order as part of “an ongoing smear campaign” by a jilted partner who is attempting to destroy his life.
Toohil along with a political consultant, who had dated Miccarelli from 2013 to 2014, last month filed a complaint with the House of Representatives, accusing the 35-year-old lawmaker of violating the House’s workplace harassment policy.
In her complaint to obtain the restraining order, Toohil alleged after they broke up, Miccarelli continued to harass and stalk her. “I had to hide my family and staple a note to my life insurance policy that in the event of my death he should be investigated,” the complaint states.
In a story about a complaint she and the political consultant filed with the House that was first reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer and The Caucus on Feb. 28, the women alleged Miccarelli had sexually or physically assaulted them and engaged in other abusive behavior over the past six years.
Miccarelli, who got married on Feb. 17, has denied the allegations and has issued subsequent statements proclaiming his innocence.
The statement from his spokesman Frank Keel said, “It’s shameful that Toohil would make this move for a PFA without any notice to Nick or any opportunity for him to be heard. The allegations Toohil trumpeted to secure the PFA supposedly occurred six long years ago, yet she never decided to seek any legal relief until now?
“She knew Nick was recently married. It’s unconscionable that Toohil would abuse the PFA process in this way at this time, knowing the shame and embarrassment it would bring to Nick and his new family. The only minimal contact the two even have at this point in time is when they’re carrying out their official duties at the State House.
“This stunt provides further evidence that political forces beyond Toohil and Nick’s other female accuser are pulling out all the stops to destroy Nick’s good name and end his political career. Nick Miccarelli maintains his innocence. He has done nothing wrong and will continue to fight these outrageous and baseless allegations against him.”
The women have been reported as saying they didn’t come forward until now out of fear for putting their careers or lives in jeopardy.
In the complaint, Toohil states, “I have been silent for fear that when this story is released he will kill me, himself and others.”
She later says, “Threats, intimidation and his obsession with violence and firearms causes me great concern for myself and my entire family and coworkers.”
The women were emboldened to have their story made public by the #MeToo Movement to try to hold Miccarelli accountable for the alleged behavior, particularly after Miccarelli put a post on his Facebook page saying “The me too stuff is really hard to read. We must face this issue together,” Mutchler has said.
The restraining order bars Miccarelli from having any contact with Toohil or being where she lives or works, according to a story that appeared late Friday afternoon in the Citizens Voice.
It was unclear on Friday evening how that will impact his ability to participate in next week’s House session or caucus discussions. House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin said, “We’ve not seen the order yet. There’s nothing we can comment on.”
Mutchler confirmed that as part of the order, Miccarelli, who is a staff sergeant in the Army National Guard, will have his firearms confiscated. One of the women confirmed to PennLive that Miccarelli did occasionally carry a concealed firearm. In the complaint for the restraining order, Toohil said he has carried a weapon on the House floor.
Sources close to the House investigation who are not authorized to speak publicly about it confirmed that both women told House investigators looking into their complaint that Miccarelli had an obsession with former state Treasurer R. Budd Dwyer’s public suicide in 1987 and that fact sparked concern for House investigators. Toohil mentions the alleged obsession with the Dwyer suicide in her complaint for the restraining order as well.
All eight House Republican leaders have called on Miccarelli to resign from his House seat as did Gov. Tom Wolf and some House Democrats.
Until now, neither women’s names has been released publicly.
Mutchler said on Friday evening, “Rep. Toohil was preparing to go public with her name on Monday because she feels very strongly as a public official that she has a duty to protect other women and wanted to underscore the complexities and the issues that go along with women and families involved in situations of domestic violence or sexual violence. Obviously with the protection order her name came out sooner.”
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