Wow.  It’s only the first of October, and we already have our “October surprise” in the 13th Congressional race.

According to the Plain Dealer, a woman, who is only identified solely as a registered Republican and Tea Party activist, has filed suit alleging that a year ago Tom Ganley sexually assaulted her at one of his dealerships.

His accuser said she attended a Cleveland Tea Party rally where Ganley spoke on July 3, 2009, when he was a candidate for the U.S. Senate, before he decided to run for Congress. Impressed by Ganley’s anti-abortion platform, the lawsuit says, the woman approached him, introduced herself and her children and offered to volunteer on his campaign.

The woman then visited Ganley’s Chevrolet dealership on Lorain Avenue in Cleveland three times during the following weeks, to discuss volunteer campaign duties and a reduction in the interest rate on a car loan she received from a Ganley dealership, the lawsuit says.

Ganley talked during the meetings about fixing her van for free, reducing her interest rate and giving her a job at a dealership, according to the suit.

In their second meeting, Ganley told the woman that he and his wife lead separate lives and live on opposite sides of their home, the suit says. In each of the meetings, the suit says, Ganley pressed her about what she does for "fun."

On her last visit to Ganley’s office, Aug. 1, the woman said she dropped off her van for repairs. While she waited in Ganley’s office, the suit says, he made sexually suggestive comments and invited her to join him and his friends at a condominium he owns in Strongsville. Ganley gave her a $100 bill and told her to buy some lingerie and high-heeled shoes, according to the lawsuit.

Ganley told her he wanted her to dominate her, parade her on a leash and have sex with her in front of his "play friends," the suit says. It accuses him of grabbing her from behind, wrapping his arms around her, kissing her and, despite her resistance, reaching into her pants.

No report has ever been filed by the police, however.  The alleged victim says she feared she would be dismissed by law enforcement due to Ganley’s public reputation as being tied as a supporter of law enforcement.

The suit was filed, Ganley’s lawyer admits, after attempt to mediate and settle the woman’s claim failed.  Ganley’s lawyer strongly denied the woman’s allegations and called the suit part of an “extortion” scheme.  Except, Ganley is best known for working with the feds to send two organized crime figures to federal prison the last time someone tried to extort money from him.  This woman realizes this, so I can’t imagine why she’d think Ganley would be a good target for extortion.  Also, one thing Ganley’s lawyer didn’t deny was that Ganley knew this woman.

Some may attempt to question the timing of the filing of the suit to suggest that it was politically motivated.  As the Plain Dealer notes, the parties were engaged in private negotiations to settle this assault which allegedly occurred in October 2009. It would be highly unusual, and in fact a sign that the party had little confidence in their own case, for a party not to sue almost immediately after settlement and mediation failed.  It would be perceived as a sign that the accuser was bluffing if she hadn’t filed as promised. 

Now, I should point out that she still had a year left to file before the statute of limitations runs out.  However, while it may be hardball litigation tactics, her lawyer would be an idiot not to realize that Ganley’s motivation to settle will never be stronger than it is if he sued now.  Is that extortion?  No.   Is it hardball litigation tactics?  Absolutely.  But then again, so is only offering to pay the costs of mediation and nothing more like Ganley’s lawyer reportedly offered.

The suit also alleges that the attorney who had served as Ganley’s general counsel for twenty-five years, Russell Harris, “just filed a law suit against Ganley on September 17, 2010 in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CV 2010 736109; apparently related to the attempted suborning of perjury by Ganley.”  However, that suit was allowed to be filed “under seal” according to the Cuyahoga County Clerk’s Office.  Thus preventing a copy of the Complaint to be public record.  I would expect that either the Cleveland Plain Dealer or the Akron Beacon Journal, or some other third-party, would file a Motion to Intervene and demand that the Court unseal the Complaint as it might have allegations that the voters in the 13th Congressional District have a right to know before the election.

Be sure to read the Complaint, it’s, shall we say, rather flamboyantly drafted.

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