Republicans want Kansas GOP lawmaker out over allegations

August 31, 2018 - 6:19 pm
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Kansas Republicans on Friday pushed a new GOP state lawmaker to resign and end his campaign to keep his seat over a woman's allegations that he allowed two of her foster children to sit in his lap and rub his chest, even though he said the state later reversed its initial finding of abuse.

The Kansas Republican Party severed its ties with state Rep. Michael Capps, of Wichita, declaring that it did not support his election after reviewing information about the allegation from him and other, unspecified sources. It said the allegation, which was first reported by KAKE-TV , was "beyond troubling" and that the party was compelled to take "pre-emptive action" because Capps wouldn't withdraw as a candidate.

House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr., an Olathe Republican, called on Capps to resign, saying it would be "entirely inappropriate" for him to serve. Local Republicans appointed Capps in July to fill a vacancy in the Wichita-area district until January after he filed to run for the seat in this year's elections.

"The allegations in this matter are serious ones," Ryckman said in a statement. "Public trust matters far more than political gain."

Capps was the only GOP candidate in the state's Aug. 7 primary. If he remains on the ballot as the Republican nominee, he will face Democrat Monica Marks, of Wichita, in the Nov. 6 general election.

Capps insists that he did nothing wrong.

"I fought back and cleared my name," he told KAKE-TV. "I fought back and was able to show the system had made a mistake."

KAKE reported that Capps had been a court-appointed volunteer to provide support to children placed in foster care. The station said that after two young boys were removed from a foster home last year, the foster mother accused Capps of abusing them.

The woman alleged that Capps hugged and kissed the boys and allowed them to sit on his lap and rub his chest. He told KAKE he was affectionate, but that he didn't overstep any boundaries.

While DCF initially affirmed emotional abuse, Capps told KAKE that the finding was overturned when he appealed to the agency. He said that decision, reversing the finding, was upheld after another, outside state administrative review.

KAKE reported that Capps resigned as a volunteer and the volunteer group decertified him. But no criminal charges were filed and DCF dismissed the case, the station said.

The Associated Press could not independently verify the details of the case. Neither Capps nor a DCF spokeswoman replied to phone messages seeking comment.

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