Rep. David Stringer was forced to resign from office last week by Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers, after 35 year old allegations of sexual improprieties by him surfaced. This weekend, Stringer posted the following statement on Facebook:
Some 35 years ago when I lived in Maryland, I faced salacious allegations of sexual improprieties that had no basis in fact. 35 years ago those charges were false but they threatened me personally and put my professional life as an attorney at risk.
Fortunately, I had the resources to defend myself. My attorney did an excellent job breaking down the accusations piece by piece until the prosecution chose to offer a plea deal to two 4th degree petty offenses. Instead of having to go to trial and risk everything, I accepted a disposition that did not require me to plead guilty or result in a conviction. The charges were eventually dismissed and expunged from record.
As I’ve told many of you before, my lawyer thought we had an excellent chance of winning, but even a 90% chance of winning meant a 10% chance of losing, and that meant losing everything I had and everything I imagined I might ever have. I took the deal, maintained my innocence and was never tried on any of the false charges. The DC Bar cleared me of any conduct involving moral turpitude and I went on to a long and rewarding career as an attorney and small businessman.
35 years later, political opponents have dug those charges back up to drive me from politics because they disagree with my views. The media, as you might expect, is treating accusations like they are convictions, and they are setting out to destroy my reputation. Of course they all want me to go on their TV channels and give them interviews to entice an audience with a salacious story. But I know there is zero chance of getting a fair shake from them. So I won’t try to use the fake media to tell you what happened.
What I will say is that the charges I faced in 1983 are as false today as they were 35 years ago. I had forgotten exactly how sharp the gut-punch sensation was when I first heard about them way back then. But seeing them splashed around in headlines today by people celebrating them takes me back to the same feelings I had then. That experience gave me an inside view of the dark side of the criminal justice system. I have been a crusader for fairness and reform ever since.
Many of you have sent me messages or texts or left me voice mails saying that it is “innocent until proven guilty” in this country. I am grateful that so many of you understand that principle is the foundation of a free society. It is why I have loved the law and been honored to spend my career defending others. I’ve maintained a wonderful record over the last 35 years. I will never stop standing with those who need help defending against the abuses of government.
It is tragic that we live in a time when our political culture is so debased and the lives and reputations of those who enter public service are held so profoundly cheap. I regret that sensationalized allegations from 35 years ago have forced me to resign my office. I want you to know that I fought as long and as hard as I could to avoid leaving office. More important than the unfairness to me is the denial of the right of my constituents to elect a State Representative of their choice. The actions of the leadership of our state legislature in forcing me from office are deeply and shamefully offensive to free elections and democratic governance.
I promise all of you who have placed their trust in me that whether I am in office or out of office, I will continue to fight for freedom and our democratic way of life.