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The mother of a 17-year-old who worked in his office says state Delegate Joe Morrissey, Democrat of Henrico County, inspired her daughter’s career ambitions, but a prosecutor says that he contributed to the minor’s delinquency and “perhaps” even to her pregnancy. Morrissey, a defense attorney, chose not to defend the case, although his legal team had a theory that one of the young woman’s girlfriends had planted sexually explicit evidence on her phone and his. Now Morrissey may face disbarment proceedings — and he will face a special election: he’s resigned from Virginia’s House of Delegates, but he’s running for his own seat in a special election, and his resignation is effective on the day of that election. Morrissey will be allowed to attend to both his legal and his legislative responsibilities — if he keeps them — as part of a work-release program. Noted Sheriff Michael Wade: “We understand that the legislature can run late into the night, but we will know where he is” because the lawmaker will have an ankle monitor. (AC/Richmond Times-Dispatch, WTVR Richmond) ...What would Virginia’s jails be like if one of the legislators responsible for them actually had to live in one?
Statehouse/Jailhouse update: Morrissey was indeed re-elected, and reclaimed his seat. He later admitted the child was his, but the couple insisted that there was no sex before the girl was of legal age. He was completely shunned by other legislators, got no committee assignments, and resigned again after just a few months to run for higher office.
Original Publication Date: 28 December 2014
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 21.

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