“Is this the kind of representation you want in Salem?” the voiceover hisses.
A television attack ad claims Democratic Legislative candidate Marty Wilde mishandled an investigation into an alleged sexual assault on an Oregon National Guard sergeant by a National Guard doctor, resulting in no criminal investigation. The ad wraps up by urging voters to cast their ballots for Republican opponent Mark Herbert and announcing the ad was paid for by the Community Action Network.
Wilde, who is running for Oregon House District 11, says the ad is inaccurate, and it’s problematic in its use of a sexual assault survivor’s story. And the lawyer representing the assault victim says Wilde handled the case professionally.
“This ad is not only false and misleading, it misuses a survivor of sexual assault’s story without her consent,” Wilde says.
House Democrats, who call the ad “sleazy,” are calling on Herbert to repudiate the attack ad and demand it be pulled from the airwaves, according to a press release from the House Dems.
Joel Shapiro, the civilian lawyer for the Air National Guard member — who did not consent to her case being used in the attack ad — says in the press release that, contrary to the claims in the ad, Wilde handled the case appropriately.
Shapiro says, “Colonel Wilde handled the case appropriately, making sure that a strong military attorney was appointed to represent the victim, and actively overseeing the case to ensure the victim received appropriate care and that her interests were protected throughout the entire process.”
He continues, “Thanks in large part to the work of Colonel Wilde, the survivor’s interests were central to how the investigation and following proceedings were handled.” He says that as the survivor had hoped the investigation led to the discharge of the offender with an other than honorable discharge.
Wilde tells EW, “Mark Herbert and his backers who are airing this disgusting smear should be ashamed of themselves for exploiting an assault survivor and twisting her story for cheap political gain.”
According to the Oregon Secretary of State’s Orestar database, this month alone, Community Action Network (CAN), which paid for the ad, received thousands from local resource extractors: $26,000 from Seneca Sawmill Company, $10,000 from Seneca Jones Timber, $2,500 from Ed King of King Estate, $17,500 from Giustina Resources, $2,500 from Giustina Land & Timber Co., and $7,500 from Wildish. King Estate Winery has also donated to Wilde’s campaign.
EW reached out to Herbert, the Republican candidate, who says he had not seen the ad and was only aware of the assault allegations via an Oregonian story. He says, “If in fact the Democrats concerns [about the ad] are accurate, that’s unfortunate.” He says one thing that people have commented on is that the Wilde-Herbert race has been remarkably civil.
Herbert says that if the allegations in the ad are untrue, the appropriate thing to do would be to apologize and pull the ad.
A cease and desist letter is also being sent to stations airing the ad.
The full text of the television spot is:
In 2011 Hannah, an Oregon National Guard Sergeant became the victim of sexual abuseby a National Guard doctor. Two years later, Marty Wilde, the National Guard’s lawyer defended the decision not to report the alleged assault to the police. This resulted in no criminal investigation of Hannah’s offender. Wilde is seeking to become a state legislator now. Is this the kind of representation you want in Salem? Vote for Mark Herbert. Paid for by Community Action Network