UPDATED: Toohil issues statement on controversial YouTube video
Last Modified: April 16. 2013 3:26PM
BUTLER TWP. -- State Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-Butler Township, has issued a statement regarding a video that was recently posted on YouTube depicting her in compromising photos.
“A negative YouTube video surfaced a few days ago. Over a decade ago, I was one of the young women in some of the photos. However, I am not that young woman today," said Toohil, 33, a freshman legislator. “This is a blatant and personal attack against me as a legislator. If someone wants to degrade me for photos taken many years ago, so be it."
“I am speaking out because I feel compelled to address the young people who may have seen the video. If you think that doing drugs is cool – it’s not. If you think that doing drugs is ok – it’s not. The decisions that you make in life – good or bad – have an impact. Just be careful with the choices that you make.”
Toohil, a Republican, was supported earlier in the day by an unlikely ally, The Luzerne County Democratic Party.
That organization issued its own statement condemning the Youtube video montage of purported photographs of Toohil that depict what appears to be drugs and drug paraphernalia and her close to kissing another woman.
Toohil represents the 116th District. Her opponent is Democrat Ransom Young. Both are Butler Township residents.
The 28-second video starts with a screen that asks viewers "Does PA State Rep. Tarah Toohil believe in traditional Republican values?" and then shows three photos spliced together. One image shows what may be a plastic bag of marijuana. Another shows Toohil and another woman at a table nearly kissing and a third shows the two women at a table with what appears to be a vase though the video zooms in on it as if it may be something else.
In the statement issued this morning by the Luzerne County Democratic Party, the party says: "The unearthing of formerly private photographs of Tarah Toohil is dirty, nasty politics at its worst. These pictures from her past are not at all relevant to the issues facing Pennsylvanians and the residents of Luzerne County, nor are they in any relevant to, nor reflective of, Rep. Toohil's job performance today. Whoever peddled these photographs to the media ought to be ashamed of themselves. The Democratic Party wholeheartedly supports Ransom Young in the race for State Representative, and we do not believe that this non-issue should be a factor in the minds of voters of the 116th District when they go to the polls on November 6th. We condemn the use of 'below the belt' campaigning on either side of the aisle, and we wish Representative Toohil the best."
Toohil has not immediately returned a call seeking comment and she is in Harrisburg in session this morning. The statement came via email.
A complete story will be in Thursday's edition of The Times Leader.