Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has put himself at the center of the Democrats’ latest meme: the war on women. Brown recently launched his “Women For Sherrod Brown” subgroup; in doing so, he stated, “There’s a war on women’s rights in Ohio and across the country by some who don’t want women to be in charge of their own health care decisions. I remain committed to ensuring that the voices of Ohio’s women are always heard in the United States Senate.” One of the chief points of Brown’s political agenda has been the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
And tomorrow, President Obama is slated to use Brown to launch his formal re-election campaign in Columbus, Ohio.
But perhaps Brown isn’t the best person to lead off the Obama campaign – particularly not if the “war on women” is to remain one of Obama’s key campaign themes. Divorce records from Brown’s first marriage, obtained by Breitbart News, show that during the contentious proceedings, his wife accused him of “extreme cruelty” and “harassment”; she said she was “in fear for the safety … of myself and our children,” and accused Sherrod of “physical violence.” In fact, she said, Brown had “struck and bullied me on several different occasions.” The allegations apparently first became fodder for campaigning during Brown’s race for Congress in 1992.
In May 1986, Larke Brown filed for divorce from her husband, then Ohio Secretary of State Sherrod Brown (who, in court filings, called himself S. Campbell Brown). In her divorce complaint, she alleged that Sherrod had been guilty of “extreme cruelty toward her.”
Larke filed for a motion for a restraining order against Sherrod Brown (below). The motion asked the court to stop Sherrod from “harassing, including telephone harassment, annoying, interfering with or doing bodily harm to this Plaintiff at her residence or elsewhere.” The affidavit to the motion alleged that Larke believed that unless restrained, Sherrod would “harass” or “do bodily harm” to her; she further stated, “I am also intimidated by the Defendant and am in fear for the safety and well-being of myself and our children due to the Defendant’s physical violence and abusive nature.”
The restraining order was granted by the court, and prevented Brown from “harassing, including telephone harassment, annoying, interfering with or doing bodily harm to this Plaintiff at her residence or elsewhere.” In fact, the restraining order enjoined Brown from “coming in or around the Plaintiff’s residence … except for purposes of visitation with the parties’ minor children.”
In October 1986, Larke filed a multi-pronged motion asking for limitation of visitation rights of Sherrod due to “physical and emotional harassment of the Plaintiff” and an order preventing him from coming no closer than the curb of their home during the times he exercises his visitation privileges.
Her affidavit in support of this motion alleged that Sherrod had “embarked on a consistent course of conduct designed to destroy the Plaintiff’s peace of mind as well as to physically and mentally intimidate her.” On several occasions, Larke alleged, her husband had “intimidated, pushed, shoved, and bullied her.”
On October 11, 1986, she alleged, for example, that she was “entertaining out-of-town guests for breakfast” when Sherrod stopped by to pick up the kids for visitation. She aalleges she sked Sherrod to put the kids’ things out to the car while she told them to come out. Instead, “Defendant refused to return to van, pushed me up against the wall with his arms in order to pass and entered the house. He refused to leave when asked and began to say insulting, derogatory things about me, my mothering of my children and my character in front of my friends and children.” Larke alleged that “Defendant has embarked on a course of conduct designed to destroy the children’s peace of mind by making defamatory and slanderous remarks about me to them, as well as insisting that they repeat untruthful things that he had coached them to state.”
She summed up: “I am definitely afraid of my husband, that he has struck and bullied me on several different occasions, he has completely destroyed my peace of mind and that I am extremely intimidated by him.”
Sen. Brown is currently enmeshed in a highly competitive re-election race with challenger Josh Mandel, the State Treasurer. Polls show the two running neck and neck.
S. Campbell Brown May 1986: