Tea Party Backed Senate Candidate Says Underage Sex Charge ‘Politically Motivated’

The Ohio Constitution Party’s candidate for U.S. Senate Eric W. Deaton was indicted on Tuesday for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, The Dayton Daily News reported.The 42-year-old Deaton will be arraigned Sept. 14 in county common pleas court on the third-degree felony count, Greg Flannagan, spokesman for Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias H. Heck Jr., told the paper.

Flannagan said the indictment alleges that Deaton engaged in sexual conduct with a girl who was between the ages of 13 and 15 between March 20, 2006 and March 25, 2007. Deaton faces five years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted.

“I think this is politically motivated,” Deaton said, adding that he intends to stay in the race and that “the powers that be” don’t like him running.

Campaign spokesman Gale Joy told TPMMuckraker that his candidate “absolutely” denied the charges, but didn’t say who might have the political motivation to bring the charges.

“We don’t know and we’re not going to make speculation on that, but being the most conservative candidate on the ballot, there’s a lot of people that don’t want to see him continue his campaign,” Joy said. “Based on past experience in election campaigns, we know that there’s slander that’s going to fly.”

Joy said he hopes people will hear all the facts before making a judgment. Joy said he had no idea who the girl Deaton is alleged to have had a relationship with is. He said he has known the candidate for five years and has never gotten any indication he has done anything improper.

Deaton is running to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio). His opponents are Republican Rob Portman, Democrat Lee Fisher, Socialist Party candidate Daniel H. LaBotz, independent Michael Pryce and write-in candidate Arthur T. Sullivan, according to the newspaper.