WILKES-BARRE — State Rep. Tarah Toohil says fellow state lawmaker Nick Miccarelli aimed a gun at her in 2012 and continues to engage in harassing behavior, years after a relationship between the two ended, according to a protection from abuse order Toohil secured Friday.
“Defendant has severe mental health issues and has threatened to kill me in the past,” she wrote, according to a copy of the document obtained by the Times Leader.
Toohil added that Miccarelli carries a gun to work in the state Capitol in Harrisburg, walks by her office “when there are other ways to travel,” and stands close to her desk on the House floor.
“Threats, intimidation, and his obsession with violence and firearms causes me great concern for myself and my entire family and co-workers,” Toohil wrote in the request, which was approved by Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough.
Toohil did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
Miccarelli spokesman Frank Keel responded with a media statement saying the Delaware County Republican maintains his innocence, calling Toohil’s request for a restraining order “part of an ongoing smear campaign” against her former boyfriend.
“Romantic relationships often end and Nick ended his relationship with Ms. Toohil years ago,” the statement added. “Ending a relationship, however, does not permit the jilted partner from attempting to destroy the other person’s life.”
Toohil, 38, lives in Butler Township and represents the 116th District. Miccarelli, 35, lives in Ridley Park, Delaware County, and represents the 162nd district. Both are Republican. Both have since gotten married — Toohil in 2014, Miccarelli last month.
Friday’s developments are just the latest high-profile controversy involving the two state representatives, however.
But that photo also emerged amid a series of anonymous political attacks against Toohil, including potentially compromising images, in October 2012, as she was seeking re-election.
In her PFA statement, Toohil claims Miccarelli tried to blackmail her with photos and then released them after the pair split up in 2012.
Miccarelli, meanwhile, has been in the media spotlight in recent weeks amid allegations of physical and sexual abuse by two women, as The Philadelphia Inquirer and other outlets have reported. A Feb. 28 Inquirer report did not name the women, identifying them only as a state official and a political consultant.
The Inquirer’s description of one woman’s account matches allegations made by Toohil in her PFA request — notably that Miccarelli in 2012 pointed his gun at her during a car ride, “drove his car over 100 mph, threatening to kill us both by crashing his car.”
Toohil wrote: “On Feb. 28, 2018 defendant admitted he abused me by stating my name to a reporter. He has information about me and victim #2 on his Facebook page and in a media statement in an effort to intimidate me to remain silent.”
The last publicly visible post on Miccarelli’s Facebook page, viewed Friday evening, was dated Feb. 27, in which he updated his cover photo to show a knight with a sword facing opponents approaching on horseback. There are no visible references to Toohil.
In a Feb. 28 statement to the Inquirer, Miccarelli made no personal references to the two women, only to state that he previously had consensual relationships with them, and that he denied their allegations.
“Never was I confronted with these ugly allegations until hearing from the reporters,” Miccarelli told the Inquirer, commenting that “In this case, the #metoo movement has gone TOO far.”
The #metoo movement is a social media campaign which gained traction last year, in which victims of sexual and physical assault, primarily women, are encouraged to come forward and tell their stories. It arose out of high-profile accusations against entertainment, media and political figures.
Toohil said she feared harm for coming forward.
“I have been silent for fear that when this story is released he will kill me, himself and others,” she wrote in the PFA request.
According to Toohil’s narrative, in 2011 and 2012, Miccarelli subjected her to verbal and physical abuse, hitting, kicking and pinching her. She claims he also blackmailed her with photographs, and publicly released those photos after their relationship ended.
The Israel camel photo was sent to the Times Leader and other media outlets in October 2012. Toohil defended the trip as an educational excursion to learn about Israeli policies that might benefit her district and the state, said she paid most of her own way, and that she would report $2,500 in funding from the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia on her state disclosure forms, as required.
Miccarelli declined to comment on the trip when approached by reporters.
Around the same time, someone emailed Toohil’s House colleagues video images showing a much younger Toohil sitting at a table with a bong, with what appeared to be marijuana, as the future lawmaker appeared poised to kiss another female.
Toohil acknowledged she was one of the “young women” in the photos, and warned young people of the perils of dabbling in drugs. Despite at least one other video attack, she easily won re-election.
Toohil told the court she continues to fear for her safety at work. She said she filed a complaint with the state House of Representatives on Feb. 8, and that Miccarelli has been stripped of his security clearance.
She wrote that Miccarelli “is obsessed with the Budd Dwyer video,” in which former state treasurer Robert Budd Dwyer shot himself to death during a press conference in his Harrisburg office.
The complaint to the House could not be independently confirmed late Friday, but the Delaware County Daily Times reported this week it is being reviewed by House investigators and the Dauphin County District Attorney’s office, and that no charges have been filed.
Judge Vough’s order bars Miccarelli from any contact with Toohil until further notice, including anywhere she lives or works. It also requires him to relinquish any weapons.
Keel’s statement on behalf of Miccarelli criticizes Toohil for waiting to come forward with allegations about events that “supposedly occurred six long years ago, yet she never decided to seek any legal relief until now?”
“She knew Nick was recently married,” Keel continued. “It’s unconscionable that Toohil would abuse the PFA process in this way at this time, knowing the shame and embarrassment it would bring to Nick and his new family.”
“The only minimal contact the two even have at this point in time is when they’re carrying out their official duties at the State House,” he added. “This stunt provides further evidence that political forces beyond Toohil and Nick’s other female accuser are pulling out all the stops to destroy Nick’s good name and end his political career.”