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House members, domestic violence organization pressure Coleman to resign

By: - November 2, 2021 12:47 pm
Six Kansas House Democrats and the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence seek resignation of Rep. Aaron Coleman, a Democrat from Kansas City, Kansas, charged with domestic battery. (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)

Six Kansas House Democrats and the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence seek resignation of Rep. Aaron Coleman, a Democrat from Kansas City, Kansas, charged with domestic battery. (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Six women serving in the Kansas House and a statewide domestic violence organization Tuesday urged Democratic Rep. Aaron Coleman to resign immediately from the Legislature after arrested and charged with misdemeanor domestic battery.

Coleman, who serves a district in Kansas City, Kansas, was formally charged Monday in Johnson County District Court. His attorney entered a not guilty plea.

Coleman wasn’t present in court, but was instructed to undergo a mental health evaluation before a scheduled appearance Dec. 22. The allegations center on an incident Saturday involving disagreements with a sibling at a relative’s home.

In a statement, the six representatives and a former legislator requested Coleman resign from office because his conduct made him unfit to serve. If he refused to quit, the group said they would file a complaint to seek his expulsion from the Kansas House.

The same coalition of women legislators requested in December 2020 that Coleman step down when his past conflicts with women dating to 2014 were made public. They also took issue with Coleman’s statement suggesting he would “call a hit” on Gov. Laura Kelly.

“We are alarmed that an individual remains in a position of power after continued documented accounts of violence,” the legislators said in a statement. “This troubling pattern of bullying and intimidation has created an unsafe environment for state employees, legislators and visitors to the Capitol.”

Democratic Reps. Stephanie Byers, of Wichita; Linda Featherston, of Overland Park; Christina Haswood, of Lawrence; Jo Ella Hoye, of Lenexa; Mari-Lynn Poskin, of Leawood; Lindsay Vaughn, of Overland Par; and former Rep. Jennifer Day said public officials ought to prioritize public safety.

Coleman, 21, was previously the subject of complaints of domestic violence, stalking and revenge porn involving females. His prior conduct was investigated earlier this year by a special committee in the Kansas House, which recommended he be reprimanded.

Joyce Grover, executive director of the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, said abusers not held accountable for their actions were likely to continue harming people.

“We urge the state Legislature and others to take these latest allegations seriously in light of his past and continuing actions of domestic violence, stalking, intimidation and other abusive behavior and to consider holding him accountable through the imposition of additional sanctions by the Kansas legislative body or other decision-makers,” Grover said.

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Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association's Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.

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