Allegations of inappropriate behavior have been leveled against a gay Mayor campaigning for the United States House of Representatives.
Alex Morse is accused of abusing his position as a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The College Democrats of Massachusetts allege “numerous incidents over the course of several years” where Morse arranged to meet students on dating apps and, in some instances, had “sexual contact.”
The allegations were published by the student newspaper, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian.
Morse, 31, has denied the accusations.
“I want to be very clear about this,” Morse wrote in a statement issued Aug. 10. “I have never, in my entire life, had a non-consensual sexual encounter with anyone. I have never used my position of power as Mayor and UMass lecturer for romantic or sexual gains, or to take advantage of students.”
Morse goes on to state that the allegations are false and he has never violated UMass policy. He does acknowledge having consensual relationships with other men whom he met through dating apps.
Morse, Mayor of Holyoke, Mass., is campaigning to unseat Congressman Richard Neal, 71, an establishment Democrat and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
“I continue this campaign mindful of the fact that my personal life — and my consensual sexual activity — will be subject to scrutiny and fixation that are all too familiar to other members of the LGBTQIA community,” Morse wrote. “I am also mindful of the fact that there are people holding onto power today who themselves have acted in dishonorable ways in their personal lives. I say this not to shirk responsibility for having made anyone uncomfortable. I am simply highlighting the fact that I am being held to a different standard, one deeply connected to a history of surveilling the sex lives of people like me.”
Holyoke Councilor Mike Sullivan is calling for Morse to resign as Mayor, accusing him of abhorrent behavior and “sexual activity with teenagers.”
Colleagues, fellow candidates and the Victory Fund rushed to Morse’s defense.
“Councilmember Sullivan’s statement is a blatant attempt to mislead voters and appeal to homophobic stereotypes about gay men as pedophiles — and it must be retracted and condemned. He repeatedly refers to ‘sexual activities with teenagers’ knowing full well the word ‘teenagers’ evokes images of middle and high school students — not college students — and that there are no allegations from anyone underage. The architects of these efforts knew this is where the conversation would lead — with no regard for the homophobia it would unleash,” said Sean Meloy, Senior Political Director for LGBTQ Victory Fund.
On Wednesday, it was revealed, one of the leaders of the College Democrats plotted to sink Morse’s campaign by chatting him up on Tinder. The Intercept purchased the chat logs between Morse and “Neal Stan” — who has now been unmasked as Timothy Ennis, chief strategist for the UMass Amherst College Democrats.
Ennis, told the Intercept he tried to damage Morse because he needed a job and that Congressman Neal would hire him.