On Feb. 2, State Rep. Monte Hodges stated he was falsely accused of child molestation about 20 years ago. Despite the accusations, he said he will be staying in the race for Arkansas’ 1st Congressional District.
Hodges is running as Democratic bid for the seat, going up against Republican incumbent U.S. Rep Rick Crawford, who is from Jonesboro. The allegations came weeks after his announcement to run.
According to a Blytheville Police Department investigation in 2003, Hodges was accused of molesting a four-year-old boy. Hodges was a friend of the boy’s family, but he was never charged or arrested. A prosecutor refused to charge Hodges, citing the age of the child and stating that the boy was the only witness.
Hodges has been advised to drop out of the race, with the head of the Arkansas Democratic Party, Grant Tennille, asking him to withdraw from the race before the filing period started. In addition, on Feb. 5, members of Hodges’s campaign staff resigned due to the accusations.
Hodges said he has no interest in dropping out and that this is not the first time he has been accused of this. In a statement issued to Region 8 News he said:
“Every time I’ve run for office over the last 14 years people have threatened me about these baseless allegations. And every time this has happened I have focused on the people I represent.”
Despite Hodges’s claims that the allegations are baseless, some of A-State’s Young Democrat leaders have differing views.
Kaleb Webb, a junior political science/global studies double major from Cabot, AR, as well as the vice president of the Young Democrats, stated that the allegations were serious and if they were true, they disqualified Hodges as a public servant.
“Though Rep. Hodges claims to have been exonerated, we know that all too often justice is not truly served in these situations. I join Democratic Party of Arkansas Chair Grant Tennille in asking Rep. Hodges to drop out,” Webb said.
Aliah Rowe, a senior pre-law economics major from Jonesboro, AR, and the president of the Young Democrats, said she will not be supporting Hodges. Like Webb and Tennille, she thinks Hodges should drop out.
“These allegations are serious and morally I will not stand behind someone facing them. As someone who is a part of the (1st) District, I believe we deserve someone in this position that is a morally just person and will represent us and the 1st District accordingly,” Rowe said.
The Young Democrats will be releasing a statement in the forthcoming weeks regarding the situation.
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