WASHINGTON — A Republican candidate for governor in Louisiana is facing allegations of molestation, sexual harassment and sexual abuse by a teen girl in a case that could cast a spotlight on how the Republican Party operates in the Deep South.
In an interview with The Associated Press, former state Senate candidate and mother of his two children, John T. McDonough, 52, said he was “doing the best I could to help my family” in the wake of the allegations against him.
McDonough said his wife, Karen McDonaugh, who is in her 20s, molested him when she was 14 and 16.
She told him she wanted him to “leave her alone” when she saw the photos of the assault on her computer.
He did not file charges and said he never knew her.
In court filings, McDonoug’s lawyers said they had received numerous complaints from people in the state and the surrounding area about the candidate, including about allegations that he raped a teenage girl.
In the past, he had said he did not know the woman and did not have sex with her.
The Associated Press has not been able to verify any of the claims.
In interviews with The AP, Karen’s parents said they were shocked and appalled to learn of the accusations.
They said they believe the allegations were false and are pursuing the matter with prosecutors.
They declined to discuss details of their investigation.
In a statement, McConough said, “I was a good husband, a good father, a decent citizen.
I do not deserve to be treated as an accessory to a crime that is beyond my control and the victims’ rights to due process and to a fair trial.”
McDonaugh also said in the statement that he had never committed a crime and was confident he would have been acquitted by the jury.
McConough, a former state senator, is challenging incumbent Republican Gov.
John Bel Edwards in the Nov. 4 general election.
The Associated Post has not independently verified any of McDonoy’s allegations.
McDonalds wife, who he said was his first wife, did not respond to requests for comment.
He said in his statement that she did not want to comment on the case because it is a legal matter.
The allegations are the latest to have rocked Louisiana politics in the past year.
In December, state Rep. Charles Boussard, a Republican, said McDonogh had asked him to have sex in his car in exchange for votes and told him to use “some sort of magic spell.”
Boussards office said the allegations did not merit an official investigation and that the allegations are “totally untrue.”
McDonald said the woman’s story was false, but that the family had been harassed and attacked since they were married and the allegations happened in 2012.
He has denied any wrongdoing.
McDoough, who was born in Kentucky, has also been accused of groping a 17-year-old student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and of having an affair with a student at a high school in Louisiana.
He denies the charges.
McConnell, a Democrat, has said he believes the Republican primary will be a “safe haven” for voters in a state where the GOP has been heavily criticized for its handling of the response to the storm that killed nine people in New Orleans and the death of more than 50 in the city of Baton Rouge.
McDowell, a state senator and member of the state Senate’s finance committee, is the only Republican running for governor.
He is considered the most likely to win the Democratic primary and is favored to defeat Edwards in November.