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A congressional candidate was arrested on domestic violence charges just days ago — but GOP insiders knew of the allegations for months

Daniela Altimari, The Hartford Courant on

Published in Political News

Simmons said many rank and file Republicans, including some delegates who supported Gilmer at the May convention, had no idea the candidate was facing such serious allegations. Many voters, including an untold number who voted early by absentee ballot, did not learn of the charges until after they cast their ballots in Tuesday's primary.

Romano said he never saw the video, but became aware of the allegations against Gilmer just before the convention. He said he strongly urged Anderson to take the matter to the police and provided him with the name of a domestic violence counselor to pass along to the victim.

GOP Vice Chairwoman Sue Hatfield, who works as a prosecutor in northeastern Connecticut, said she never saw the video and criticized Anderson for not taking the evidence to the police.

"When approached by Justin Anderson, he alluded that he had information on Tom Gilmer involving an ex-girlfriend that would hurt him politically. I immediately stopped him and unequivocally stated that if anything he was going to tell me was criminal in nature or if he believed that anyone was at risk of harm, he needed to go directly and without delay to the police," Hatfield said.

"Further, I told him that if he informed me of any criminal wrongdoing or if I believed that anyone may be in harms way that I have a duty and obligation to go to the police myself," Hatfield said. "Consequently, Justin never told me the details, never showed me any evidence that he had, and when I hung up the phone, I was hopeful that Justin would do the right thing. My response to Justin was simple and clear: I urged that the matter be reported to the police."

Anderson defended his actions, saying the victim provided him with the video on the stipulation that he not share it with the police. The woman told Anderson she was terrified of Gilmer, her former boyfriend, and only agreed to share the video because she believed Republicans needed to know about Gilmer's background.

 

"She told me 'don't make this public and don't go to the police. If you do I'm going to fear for my safety,"' Anderson said. "My goal was always to give it to law enforcement but she flat out said no."

The woman said she told Anderson not to send the video to anyone but she authorized him to share it with party leaders. "It took a lot for me to trust Justin to show it to right people," she said. She also said she went to the police herself in May, but did not provide them with the video because she said she was still processing the trauma of the abuse.

Given the brutal nature of the alleged crime, Anderson said he now regrets not alerting police sooner.

"In hindsight, I wish I had but I gave her my word I wouldn't. At this point, we can second guess a lot of stuff but I went with the victim's wishes."

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