Accusations are mounting that Wes Goodman is not the Republican advocate of "family values" he'd claimed.
Over 30 sources said they were targets of sexual misconduct from the former state representative, who resigned from the Ohio legislature Tuesday after being caught in "inappropriate behavior" with a man in his office.
Now the Independent Journal Review reports that Goodman, an anti-LGBT politician who purported to be an advocate for "family values," allegedly engaged in a troubling pattern of behavior, which involved attempts to solicit sex from young men, ages 18 to 24, on social media apps.
According to dozens of sources in Monday's report, Goodman would reach out to college students on Facebook who had mutual friends in conservative circles. Through Facebook's messenger and Snapchat, Goodman would offer to mentor these young people in political careers, before sending sexually suggestive messages. IJR published screenshots of many of these exchanges with the sources' names redacted.
"Ready for the weekend?" Goodman questioned one source on Facebook messenger. Shortly afterward, he added, "can't beat sitting around in your underwear lol" and "can't beat sitting at home drinking beer in your underwear lol."
Goodman was more explicit on Snapchat, where messages are erased after a limited amount of time. He seemed unaware, however, that screenshots could be saved. In screenshots shared on IJR, Goodman wrote, "I'm so hard," and "You should be here getting your dick sucked."
Sources claimed that Goodman also shared photographs of his penis on Snapchat, and provided one of the photos to IJR, which censored it. One source said that Goodman would frequently text late at night to say "that his wife was out of town or asleep."
Rumors of Goodman’s "inappropriate behavior" had been circulating for years in Washington and Ohio. An anonymous coworker from Ohio politics said that, while he never witnessed any instances of sexual misconduct, Goodman "definitely abused his power." He described Goodman as "homophobic" with "some pretty transparent masculinity issues."
The majority of sources who spoke with IJR never personally encountered Goodman. However, Washington Post published a troubling account Friday that involved sexual harassment.
Two years ago, Goodman allegedly unzipped the pants of an 18-year-old and groped him while he was sleeping in a Ritz-Carlton hotel room near Washington, D.C. The teen was there attending a conservative conference with his parents. He fled to them.
Afterward, his stepfather wrote to Tony Perkins, head of the evengelical group Family Research Council, "If we endorse these types of individuals, then it would seem our whole weekend together was nothing more than a charade."
"Trust me... this will not be ignored nor swept aside,” replied Perkins. “It will be dealt with swiftly, but with prudence."
IJR stressed that although it was able to correspond with 30 sources in its reporting, "there are many more who choose to remain silent out of fear."
A disclaimer at the end of the article revealed that its author, Caleb Hull, "was previously sent unsolicited, sexually explicit messages by Wes Goodman and eventually blocked him."
Goodman, a Republican, was elected to represent the 87th District, in north-central Ohio, just last year. He promoted himself as a Christian conservative and said on his campaign website, "healthy, vibrant, thriving, values-driven families are the source of Ohio’s proud history."
Goodman, 33, who is married to a woman, has not yet commented on the new allegations. He issued an apology after his resignation last week: “We all bring our own struggles and our own trials into public life. That has been true for me, and I sincerely regret that my actions and choices have kept me from serving my constituents and our state in a way that reflects the best ideals of public service. For those whom I have let down, I’m sorry. As I move onto the next chapter of my life, I sincerely ask for privacy for myself, my family, and my friends."