Maine Senate candidate Sara Gideon, also the Speaker of the state’s State House, was reportedly complicit in a child abuse sexual scandal in 2018. Democrat State Rep. Dillon Bates, while serving under Speaker Gideon, faced allegations of preying on multiple young girls while he was faculty at Maine Girls Academy; the claims that Bates engaged in “at least three romantic and/or sexual relationships with high school girls over the past half decade” became public in August of 2018.
Speaker Gideon called on Bates to resign his seat in the State House at the time, which he promptly refused, and vowed to launch an ethics probe as the state house’s highest-ranking Democrat, but any such investigation into Bates’ conduct never happened. Even more, Speaker Gideon learned of the claims against Bates in March of 2018, six months before the allegations were public knowledge. A spokesman for the Speaker said that “no proof” was found to support the allegations, but that “if any evidence or new information was presented that indicated there could be truth to what was then a rumor, that we would ask him to resign immediately."
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) points to Gideon’s allegiance to “party loyalty over justice” in a blistering new ad that highlights her knowledge of the claims against Bates:
Gideon’s decision to keep the allegations from the public is diametrically opposed to her previous stance for dealing with sexual assault and abuse. Gideon launched her bid for the Senate after GOP incumbent Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) voted to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, after carefully weighing the allegations of misconduct against Kavanaugh. Gideon repeatedly claims that Sen. Collins put “party over country” when she voted to confirm Justice Kavanaugh, even after the Maine Republican spent weeks weighing her vote; in the case of Dillon Bates, Gideon is guilty of the exact criticisms she launches at Sen. Collins.
"When given the choice between playing politics or seeking justice, Gideon put her party first and sided with an alleged pedophile instead of the victims," said NRSC spokesperson Nathan Brand. "Gideon must answer for her six months of silence."
No matter what the outcome of an ethics investigation into Bates may have been, there was no real reason for Gideon to keep the information from the public, especially given that this was a child abuse scandal.
Gideon responded to the allegations and the NRSC’s ad, claiming that she was “the first” to call on Bates to resign:
A new low for Senator Collins and her allies today, and another sign she's changed after 23 years in Washington. Take a moment to read the statement from Sara. #mepolitics #MESen pic.twitter.com/DXElVKWohp— Maeve Coyle (@maevemcoyle) June 17, 2020
Indeed, the Speaker was the first to call for Bates’ resignation, but only after knowing about the allegations for six months prior to the public. Despite this complicity in allegations of child abuse against one of her state representatives, Gideon wasted no time before piling onto the attempted character assassination of Kavanaugh during his confirmation to the highest court. In the case of the Conservative jurist, the evidence was scattered and unsubstantiated, while multiple young victims corroborated evidence against Bates.
The minimal evidence to support the claims against Kavanaugh represented enough to “Believe Women,” but in the case of a fellow Democratic legislator, “no proof” could be found to satisfy Speaker Gideon enough to investigate the claims.