Teachers, parents disgusted with Bevin's sexual assault comments, House Condemns

04/14/2018 10:12 AM

FRANKFORT- Hours after Governor Bevin insinuated children were being sexually assaulted due to the thousands of teachers protesting at the Capitol, parents and teachers say they are disgusted by his comments.

“I thought they were quite disgusting, quite loaded and quite insensitive.” said Nicole Finley, a parent from Louisville.

Terry Long, a retired teacher from Greenville, was almost left speechless by the comments.

“What he said yesterday, terrible..it just befuddles me. It can’t help anything, it especially can’t help him,” he said. “I guess he takes offense to what we are doing here, but this has been peaceful. So I don’t know, thin skinned I guess? He’s just reacting….someone made a comment earlier that he’s just doing all this for the publicity.”

Hours after the Republican-led General Assembly voted to override Gov. Bevin’s veto of the budget and tax bill, Bevin didn’t hold anything back when expressing his feelings about the thousands of teachers filling the state capitol.

“I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today, a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them,” Bevin said. “I guarantee you somewhere today, a child was physically harmed or ingested poison because they were left alone because a single parent didn’t have any money to take care of them.”

The comments sparked immediate blow back statewide, including from members of his own party. Senator Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, who chairs the education committee, rebuked the governor for his comments, tweeting, “The disgusting comments by Gov. Bevin insinuating that a peaceful protest by teachers would lead to sexual assault are reprehensible. I don’t agree with these comments & I find them repulsive. I disagreed with his radio comments about teachers before & I disagree with these.”

Several other Republican lawmakers took to social media to denounce the comments, as well as Kentucky residents statewide.

The Kentucky Democratic Party quickly issued a response to the comments made by the governor.

“It’s entirely inappropriate and perverse that the man sitting in the governorship would criticize Kentuckians who stood up today for teachers, public employees and our public education by insinuating that their presence in Frankfort today caused a child to be sexually assaulted,” Kentucky Democratic Executive Director Mary Nishimuta said. “His insults of teachers over the last year have been beneath the decorum of any respectable elected official. This rhetoric has crossed a line. As a mother, suggesting children were abused as a prop for his political rhetoric is disturbing and absurdly in poor taste.”

Attorney General Andy Beshear, D-Kentucky, also released a statement berating the governor’s comments.

Gov. Bevin’s comments last night saying teachers rallying in Frankfort led to children being sexually abused are morally reprehensible and must be condemned by all Kentuckians. The Office of the Attorney General fights every day to protect our children and has arrested a record number of predators and human traffickers. Our prevention training efforts have reached more than 3,000 Kentuckians. If we want to create a world without child abuse, we cannot tolerate the governor’s comments.”

Sen. Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, also attacked Gov. Bevin while speaking on the Senate floor Saturday.

The House of Representatives passed two resolutions, one from Democrat Rocky Adkins, D-Morehead, and another from Republican John “Bam” Carney, R-Campbellsvile, condemning Bevin for his comments.

More than 30 school districts were closed, including the two largest school districts, as teachers descended onto the capitol to rally for public funding.

Michon Lindstrom

Michon is a producer for Pure Politics. Michon comes to Kentucky from Springfield, Illinois where she served as the statehouse reporter for the NBC affiliate. During her time in the Land of Lincoln she covered the state’s two year budget impasse and the largest school funding overall in Illinois history. Pure Politics airs weeknights at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Michon on Twitter at @MichonLindstrom or reach her by email at michon.lindstrom@charter.com

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