An Ohio politician has been arrested on 26 felony charges including sexual misconduct with teenagers but his lawyers say it’s an attack because he is gay.
Phillip Garcia, 63, was arrested on Tuesday (August 28) and taken to Ashtabula County Jail where he is being held on the charges after being investigated for several months prior to his arrest.
His charges include five counts of rape, four counts of corruption of a minor, and two counts of sexual conduct with a minor, as well as 15 counts of compelling prostitution.
Court documents revealed the alleged misconduct took place between 1997 and 2005 and his five victims were aged between 13 and 17 and four out of the five worked for his catering business.
However, in a statement by his attorney, Reid Yoder, he claims the attack on Garcia is “unfair and u just” and also say it’s happening “because he is a homosexual”.
It reads: “This indictment is an extreme example of police and prosecutors grossly overcharging a person based on their sexual orientation in attempt to gain media headlines.
“Mr Garcia intends to fight these charges zealously and looks forward to his day in court where the actual truth will be disclosed.”
The City of Conneaut – where he serves – also released a statement where they expressed their shock of the allegations.
The statement read: “The City condemns any act of sexual abuse against anyone at any time, particularly minors.
“We are deeply concerned for the victims of sexual abuse and that their rights, as well as the rights of those who are accused, are protected.”