District 15 Republican Rep. Mark Patterson is pushing back against what his office is calling “a vicious personal attack” by Idaho Statesman
columnist Dan Popkey and Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney.
In a news release issued Nov. 12, Patterson claimed that Popkey and Raney unfairly characterized a “bizarre encounter” he experienced with a woman in Florida in 1974, which resulted in his arrest on a rape charge.
, published Sunday, Nov. 10 in the Statesman
, detailed the nearly 40-year-old case wherein Patterson pled guilty to a lesser charge of “assault with intent” in exchange for a withheld judgment and five years’ probation, from which he was released after only two years.
story led with Sheriff Raney’s claim Patterson’s concealed weapons permit would be revoked because he had failed—twice—to disclose the 1974 guilty plea and his acquittal in a separate rape case in 1977.
Since the Statesman
article was published, the Spokesman-Review reported
that though Patterson’s permit was taken away, he will retain the right to carry a concealed weapon because Idaho statute exempts elected officials from the license law—a provision that some, including fellow legislators—say should be struck from the books.
Though Patterson gets to keep his concealed weapon, SR
reported that the lawmaker may appeal the decision to pull his permit.
Beyond the flap over his weapon permit, Patterson is fighting hard to clear his name in the wake of resurgent questions about his character. In the statement issued Nov. 12, Patterson goes on at length to claim that the “case against me was so flimsy that the judge in the case did not levy a fine, jail time or even court costs. … Anyone familiar with the criminal courts can realize that sort of treatment simply doesn’t happen in a case of that gravity.”
What’s more, according to the press statement, Patterson claims he obtained evidence that the woman involved in the 1974 case lied about the incident because she was “angry that I would not give her money. And for the record, I had absolutely no sexual contact with this person whatsoever,” he added.
Patterson chalks up Raney’s revocation of his concealed weapons permit to “petty retribution.” A bill he introduced in the past legislative session would have made it illegal for officials to enforce any federal laws related to limiting or confiscating firearms or ammunition. According to Patterson, the Idaho Sheriff’s Association opposed the bill—which passed the House but failed in the Senate—and when he requested lobbying reports related to the ISA’s activities, he was hit with a letter informing him that his license was being pulled.
He further claims that Raney shared “confidential information” with Popkey in order to “savagely destroy my reputation and family” in a “bare-knuckled campaign to intimidate me from serving the people of Idaho.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time Patterson’s past has spurred controversy. During the 2012 election, in which Patterson defeated Democrat Steve Berch for the District 15 seat, it came to light
that certain aspects of the Republican candidate’s resume didn’t jibe with the facts.
According to a December 2012 report from the Associated Press, Patterson remained silent as a false biography was posted to his website and circulated during campaign season which, among other things, wrongly claimed he was a graduate of the University of Southern California and seemingly stretched the facts with a reference to his time as a “professional road-racing cyclist.” USA Cycling told the AP at the time that Patterson was licensed in the 1990s in the second-lowest amateur road division of USA Cycling.
In 2012 Patterson blamed the resume flaws on a staffer. In an interview with the Statesman
in October, Patterson claimed his memory of events surrounding the 1974 rape charge has been impaired due to chemotherapy he received in 2003 related to treatment of hepatitis C.