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State Rep. Toohil Gets Three-Year Restraining Order Against Rep. Miccarelli

Michael Rubinkam
Republican Representative Nick Miccarelli of Delaware County is questioned by reporters at the county courthouse in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. on Thursday, March 15, 2018.

Representative Tarah Toohil has alleged that fellow Republican Representative Nick Miccarelli threatened to kill her and otherwise abused her during and after a relationship in 2012.

Another accuser, who is anonymous, said Miccarelli drugged and raped her.

Toohil was granted a temporary restraining order last week, which involved Miccarelli giving up all the guns he owns, and barred him from the state Capitol building anytime Toohil was there.

Thursday morning, the two sides’ lawyers came to an agreement on a longer-term restraining order.

The deal was reached without a hearing.

Miccarelli can’t have contact with Toohil for three years, and cannot reclaim his weapons during that time. But he is still allowed in the Capitol while Toohil is there. The two are permitted to be on the House floor at the time for votes, and the agreement doesn’t bar them from serving on committees or participating in any other legislative activity together, if such a situation arises.

Miccarelli also doesn’t have to say whether he’s guilty.

His spokesman, Frank Keel, called the compromise a vindication.

Terry Mutchler, a lawyer for Toohil, also said it’s acceptable.

“I think the House has taken great pains to ensure not only Representative Toohil’s security, but also the security of everyone in the Capitol,” she said.

She added, she thinks the question of Miccarelli’s guilt is far from resolved—noting that House Republicans have conducted an investigation on the situation, and they forwarded its results to the Dauphin County District Attorney, who is leading his own criminal investigation.

“Both of these women made serious allegations of sexual assault and domestic violence,” Mutchler said. “And the House found these allegations credible. You know in plain language, the House believed these women.”

Miccarelli has vehemently denied the claims, and has resisted calls from GOP leaders and Governor Tom Wolf to step down.

His motion to dismiss the restraining order case called Toohil’s statements “completely false and…solely the vengeful words of a former lover with an agenda.”

Reached for comment after the hearing, Keel walked that statement back, saying it’s not really how Miccarelli feels—the five-term lawmaker just wants to put the whole situation behind him.

“We’re working towards, not only trying to defend this innocent man, but to save his character, his career, and his life,” Keel said. “So, we had to come back at them with the same force with which they were coming at us. Let’s just put it that way.”

When the allegations against Miccarelli first came to light in a report by the Philadelphia Inquirer and LNP’s The Caucus, the lawmaker wrote a long post defending himself on his personal Facebook page. In it, he named his accuser who has chosen to stay anonymous.

In his statement about House Republicans’ investigation into Miccarelli, spokesman Steve Miskin didn’t reference any of Miccarelli’s actions directly.

But he did note, “all parties and participants in the investigation were reminded [the caucus] does not tolerate retaliation against any individual who reports or complains about harassment or improper conduct.”

Speaking carefully to avoid identifying her anonymous client, Mutchler said she thinks that “what you see with this Facebook posting related to this incident is that when people question why women don’t come forward, you really don’t have to look further than that to understand.”

“There is a retaliatory aspect to things like this,” she added. “I can’t speak further related to that, but I think that those kinds of actions are unconscionable.”

Asked whether perceived retaliation would play into the case going forward, Mutchler said she thinks “there are additional discussions that will be continuing with the House of Representatives in that regard.”