A candidate for Missouri state representative has accused another incoming lawmaker of rape

It can happen anywhere.
It can happen anywhere.
Image: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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An attorney from Ferguson, Missouri, who is running unopposed for a seat in the state’s legislature penned a letter to the speaker of the house in which she accused a fellow candidate of rape.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, she wrote:

My name is Cora Faith Walker. I will be in the Capitol in January as the Representative of the 74th District. Earlier this week, I reported a sexual assault to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. I named my rapist as Steven Roberts, Jr., who hopes to be in the Capitol in January as the Representative of the 77th District.

Walker, who asked the Post-Dispatch to use her name, told the paper that she met up with Roberts to discuss their cooperation in the state legislature at an apartment in St. Louis on the evening of August 26. She had two glasses of wine and does not remember what happened after the second one. She woke up in the apartment the next morning. She discussed the matter with her husband, but the couple waited several weeks to report the alleged crime to the police.

In her letter, Walker asked that Roberts, a fellow Democrat, not be sworn into office until the investigation into the case has been complete.

Roberts, who is also running unopposed, has not been charged with a crime. He has, however, been investigated for alleged assault in the past. In 2015, when he was assistant circuit attorney, he was arrested on suspicions of second-degree sodomy after an alleged incident with a student at a bar. The case was dropped, but Roberts was fired from his job several months later.

Scott Rosenblum, an attorney for Roberts, told the Associated Press that Walker’s allegations were unfounded. “Whatever happened between these individuals was absolutely consensual and I think we have what I would call objective evidence to support that,” he said. Quartz has reached out to the campaign for a comment.

Walker told the St. Louis Dispatch that she wanted to encourage other women to speak out, to change an environment that “perpetuates gender violence and rape culture.”

The Missouri state legislature has been embroiled in a series of sex scandals, with two senators leaving the legislature’s ranks after being accused of harassing interns.

Todd Richardson, Missouri’s house speaker, indicated in a statement that Roberts could face disciplinary action if he is elected:

The kind of conduct alleged cannot be tolerated in our state and will not be tolerated in the House of Representatives. While the House has no jurisdiction over non-members, we will monitor the criminal investigation closely and continue to have a zero tolerance policy for sexual assault, misconduct and harassment.