BY KAYLIE MOORE, Connellsville Daily Courier
Art Halvorson, the Democratic candidate for the 9th Congressional District, was cited for allegedly harassing an opposing campaign staffer during the 2016 Fayette County Fair.
According to the citation, Halvorson “with the intent to annoy or alarm another person, did subject such other person to physical contact,” and “did grab the victim by the wrist and held her wrist for approximately 20 seconds, which was unwanted by the victim.”
The harassment charge was filed Oct. 11 with District Judge Richard Kasunic II.
According to Halvorson’s Campaign Manager, Joe Sterns, Halvorson, 61, of 462 Indian Greens Lane, Manns Choice, entered a not guilty plea Tuesday. There will be a hearing – the date and time of which are to be determined.
“He entered a not guilty plea, because it’s a completely trumped up charge from a month-old encounter that was fabricated into a false police report with the sole purpose of smearing Art Halvorson in the remaining few weeks before the election,” Sterns said.
Meghan Marie Boocks worked for Congressman Bill Shuster (R-Hollidaysburg), who is seeking re-election.
According to a previous report by Keith Weimer, president of Bull’s Eye Security, Boocks, 23, and her fiancé, James Keenan, 27, both of McDonald, were working around 4 p.m. Aug. 6, at Shuster’s campaign booth in the Fayette County Fair’s Commercial Building #3.
Shuster’s Campaign Manager Casey Contres previously said the pair was “there all week distributing campaign literature.”
Boocks told security Halvorson “approached her and grabbed her tightly by the wrist.”
According to the report, Halvorson allegedly questioned her about her involvement with Shuster’s campaign and other related issues.
The report alleges Boocks complained of wrist pain after the incident but did not seek medical attention. It also states security was not contacted at the time of the incident, so no information could be gathered from Halvorson.
Halvorson unsuccessfully attempted to unseat Shuster in May 2014 and April 2016, while running as a Republican. He will oppose Shuster for the third time this November, as he seeks a ninth term as 9th Congressional District representative.
However, Halvorson successfully won a write-in campaign earlier this year, and will appear on the Democratic ballot.
In light of the formal citation, Sterns maintains the claims are false.
“Any report that was filed with the state police had to be false and only made for the purpose of character assassination, right out of the Clinton playbook,” said Sterns.
Kaylie Moore is a Daily Courier staff writer. Reach her at 724-628-2000 firstname.lastname@example.org.