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The Capitol date rape drug allegation was fabricated

Jesus Christ.

The news landed at the Texas Capitol last month like a bombshell: State police were investigating claims that a male lobbyist from one of the most influential firms in Austin had used a date rape drug on two female legislative staffers.

The Capitol quickly swung into outrage mode. Female legislators wore pink in solidarity with the victims. The House speaker condemned the “disgusting, detestable allegations.” After the alleged culprit was identified, some legislators banned his firm, HillCo Partners, from their offices. And new laws requiring that lobbyists receive harassment training were proposed.

Within a week, however, the Travis County district attorney and the Texas Department of Public Safety announced in a statement that they would not be bringing any charges. “We have concluded there is not enough evidence to support these allegations. … No crime occurred in this instance,” DPS and DA Jose Garza said.

Now, a DPS investigation has concluded that a legislative staffer fabricated the story of the date rape drug to cover up embarrassing personal behavior. “No evidence or facts obtained during the investigation support the allegation,” the 50-page report said.

In a separate audio recording obtained by Hearst Newspapers, the investigator went even further, describing the accused lobbyist, Richard Dennis — not the female staffer — as “the victim” in this case. “She lied to me,” the investigator, Special Agent Patrick Alonzo, can be heard saying. “She orchestrated all this.”

DPS turned over the results of its investigation to the district attorney’s office indicating that the woman was deceitful in her dealings with the police, but prosecutors declined to charge her. Garza, a Democrat elected in 2020, did not respond to questions from Hearst Newspapers.

In a lengthy interview in the office of his attorneys, David and Perry Minton, Dennis said that when he learned he was the suspect in the drugging case, he felt like his career was over. At one point, he said, he thought about killing himself.

“I contemplated, with my life insurance, maybe I am at this point better off not walking this earth, to my family, than I am walking in it,” said Dennis, 42. “She needed an alibi. For some reason, this is the story that she settled on.”

See here, here, and here for the background. I believed the accuser. There was no reason not to – there was nothing fantastical about her claim. Far too many women have their own stories to tell, and the Capitol’s reputation as a hostile work environment for many women is well earned. The policies put in place following the 2017 stories about the Capitol’s culture were not very robust, with the omission of lobbyists from the mandatory sexual harassment training being dumb and obvious. I don’t regret emphasizing the voices of the women who were speaking out following this accusation.

But this story turned out to be a lie, and the lobbyist who was named by the accuser (and whose name was published by Michael Quinn Sullivan’s website The Scorecard) was the actual victim. That’s terrible for Richard Dennis, who did not deserve to have any of this happen to him. I was suspicious when the investigation ended with no charges being brought – we have certainly seen that outcome in cases where the story was not made up – and that turned out to be wrong. I hope Richard Dennis is able to get his life back together and that he gets any help he might need in processing what happened to him, and I hope that people remember him for more than this.

This is also terrible for everyone who has been or is being or will be victimized by an actual sexual predator, because now there’s another reason for many people to dismiss and disbelieve them. False accusations like this are quite rare, something like two percent of the total, but they sure leave an impression. I don’t know what drove this woman to make the decision she did, but I sure hope she lives with the regret and guilt of that choice for a long time. She did a lot of damage, and not just to Richard Dennis.

This story may have been untrue, but the culture at the Capitol, and so many other places, remains a problem. It still needs everyone’s efforts to fix it. Don’t let one lie and one liar distract you from that.

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28 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    ” I don’t regret emphasizing the voices of the women who were speaking out following this accusation.”

    You really should regret it, and those women, including the lady legislators, should regret it. The woman who created this Big Lie should be arrested and jailed. Why hasn’t she been arrested for this? Why no calls for the lady legislators who called for the innocent guy’s head, and his company’s head, to resign?

    The woman who made the specious charges should go to prison for a greater amount of time than this innocent guy would have if he had been convicted, and she should be successfully sued into oblivion by both the innocent man, and by the lobbying firm he works for. She should lose everything. Trying to falsely imprison someone over being butthurt? No.

    Why is it folks are willing to say, “oh, gee, you’re innocent? Sorry, no harm, no foul, everybody just move on.” Y’all wanted to crucify this guy for doing nothing wrong. Y’all should be even more outraged now, and be demanding your pound of flesh from this lying woman. But that won’t happen, because it doesn’t promote the “straight White men bad” narrative.

    I expect to never hear about this case again, because why would we? It’s the legislative version of She-Jack looking for the White man in the red shirt driving a pickup truck. Oops, the little dead girl was shot by a black guy, and it was over a drug deal gone wrong. And the story just vanished like a popcorn fart, because it didn’t support the narrative. No apologies to White male pickup truck drivers. No charges against the family of the dead girl who perjured themselves to HPD. Just nothing, move along.

    Look at the attacks on Asian people. We’ve GOT to stop AAPI hate! A sexually frustrated white gunned down some Asians and Whites. New narrative, people! Whites are attacking Asians. Except that’s not true. Virtually ALL the random attacks on Asians we see on the news….are committed by blacks. Virtually all of them. But somehow, it’s White people that are responsible.

    It’s straight White men that are attacking women at the Capitol….even when they aren’t.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    Does anyone else notice that the woman who nearly drove an innocent man to suicide hasn’t even been named? She’ll be protected at all costs, and we see she’s not going to be prosecuted.

    “I sure hope she lives with the regret and guilt of that choice for a long time….”

    Why not use your voice and platform to see that she is arrested and prosecuted? Why does D.A. Jose Garza get a free pass here? A crime has occurred! There is a victim! Why won’t that victim get justice in Travis County? Why isn’t that parade of vitriolic women quoted in the original story lining up behind this innocent victim to demand justice for him? I know the answer, the question was rhetorical.

    Why can’t the unnamed perpetrator regret and feel guilt in jail….just like this innocent guy would have, if she’d pulled off her lie a little better?

    This shouldn’t even be a partisan issue. We should all agree about this.

  3. Manny says:

    Bill, does your mouth or fingers always move before the brain, if any, gets going?

    Is it possible that they are investigating the woman and any possible accomplices? Why not wait before you engage in your woman-hating mode?

  4. Bill Daniels says:

    Manny,

    Let me help you out here. From the article Kuff posted:

    “DPS turned over the results of its investigation to the district attorney’s office indicating that the woman was deceitful in her dealings with the police, but prosecutors declined to charge her. Garza, a Democrat elected in 2020, did not respond to questions from Hearst Newspapers.”

    And “woman-hating mode?” Really? Desiring to see justice for a victim of a horrific lawfare attack is woman hating? Huh. Live and learn.

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    Manny,

    Remember the Kavanaugh lynching? Remember “all aboard the rape train?” Remember Christine Ford, who was caught in lie after lie during her testimony, who failed to even prove she had ever met Kav? Remember all that? None of those women was charged with a crime. Not one. Ford was never charged with perjury, even though it was provable.

    Oops. Let’s all just move along and forget about it. Why is that OK with you?

    I don’t even know the politics of the innocent guy. Could be a Dem, lobbying for leftist causes. It doesn’t matter. What happened to him was a crime, and he’s not getting justice, and no one is even calling for justice for him.

  6. robert says:

    Oops. Let’s all just move along and forget about it. Why is that OK with you?

    Kind of like Jan 6th….or Investigating and chanting Hillary Clinton to death…..should I continue Bill?

  7. Jason Hochman says:

    I would like my dues in the patriarchy refunded. It doesn’t do a good job of protecting the man in the society. women should also be angry because now nobody will believe them. Of course they didn’t believe women if they accused Joe Biden, but that’s different.

  8. Bill Daniels says:

    Robert,

    There are mostly peaceful protestors in solitary confinement, and have been, held without bail, resulting from the January 6 protest. If you’re suggesting that this woman be arrested and held without bail, I’d disagree with you. Yes, she should be arrested, but she should be allowed bail, a right not afforded to many of the mostly peaceful protestors from January 6.

    Even a few of your fellow leftists can see this is wrong.

    https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/19/capitol-riot-defendants-warren-483125

  9. Manny says:

    Bill, you are a woman-hater; amazingly, you want to believe that a quote from an investigation is not available to the general public.

    Add Jason to the list of women haters.

    I personally believe that it is typical of Republicans to use their sources to discredit people. That is what republicans do, long history of that.

    Why would the woman state that she did to cover up her personal behavior?

  10. Bill Daniels says:

    Manny,

    Yet AGAIN, let me quote the source article for you, an article posted by…..Kuff:

    “Now, a DPS investigation has concluded that a legislative staffer fabricated the story of the date rape drug to cover up embarrassing personal behavior. “No evidence or facts obtained during the investigation support the allegation,” the 50-page report said.

    In a separate audio recording obtained by Hearst Newspapers, the investigator went even further, describing the accused lobbyist, Richard Dennis — not the female staffer — as “the victim” in this case. “She lied to me,” the investigator, Special Agent Patrick Alonzo, can be heard saying. “She orchestrated all this.””

    And I should add that, while I am critical of Kuff for not calling for justice now that the facts are known, credit where credit is due: Kuff could have buried this inconvenient story and not printed it here, and most of us would have just forgotten about it. But he did print it, so the whole story, warts and all, would at least come out. That’s honorable journalism.

  11. C.L. says:

    Here’s the problem in a nutshell:

    “I believed the accuser. There was no reason not to – there was nothing fantastical about her claim. Far too many women have their own stories to tell, and the Capitol’s reputation as a hostile work environment for many women is well earned.”

    Without a scintilla of evidence, ‘I believe the accuser’. Remind me to, should I ever be on trial for anything, request my Attorney remove this potential juror during voir dire.

  12. Manny says:

    Bill, you don’t have to quote the article, I read it. Give me a link to the investigative report.

    It is an unnamed source.

    Again, we choose to believe what we want, you choose to believe racists/bigots/misogynists.

    Trump and/or his campaign colluded with the Russians. Do you believe that?

  13. Bill Daniels says:

    Manny,

    WTF are you talking about? WHAT unnamed source? It’s all named.

    Hearst newspapers has put their name on this. They put their reputation on the line, and what they report is very specific, and verifiable. They say they have the tape. They NAME the source, a DPS investigator called Special Agent Patrick Alonzo. They give a quote they say is directly from a tape recording of S.A. Patrick Alonzo.

    So, if you want to impeach that source because you don’t like the info, that’s on YOU to do. Do you have proof that Hearst is lying? It seems like if they were lying, that Patrick Alonzo would have one Hell of a defamation suit against them.

    This isn’t the usual ‘unnamed sources’ murkiness, they name names. This person says this, and we have it on tape. If they came out and said they had me on tape, when they obviously did not, I’d be finding a lawyer to sue them, and I’d win.

    The question is, why are you SO invested in changing the outcome of this story? Why are you so invested in protecting the woman accuser? What gives, Manny?

  14. Jason Hochman says:

    Yeah, I am not a “woman hater.” I believed the woman who accused Joe Biden (Tara Reade), and all of the women that Gov Cuomo molested. I’ve called for impeachment of both. We need a president like Mike Pence, who makes sure not to go out without his wife, but gets ridiculed for it. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to explain.

  15. Manny says:

    Where is the report, Bill? Where are all the audios?

    There is one truth that the orange buffoon often said, that being “don’t trust the media.”

    I did not decide whom to believe when the story broke, and I still haven’t.

    The whole thing sounds like a bunch of manure, both sides. So why would one woman in Austin merit so much attention?

    You and Jason immediately decided to believe the woman lied. Women haters!

  16. Jason Hochman says:

    I have not decided that the woman lied. I just wanted my dues in the patriarchy refunded. The accused men have suffered a great harm, but they never had due process before the news media convicted them.

  17. policywonqueria says:

    ON ROOTING OUT SEXUAL MISCONDUCT AT THE TEXAS CAPITOL

    Whereas folks (including Kuff) keep insisting that there is a legislative sexual harassment culture problem even though the most recent cause célèbre for immediate hyperbolic if not hysterical outrage, anti-male rape recriminations, not to mention instanter legislative action for the benefit of the sexual-harassment-industrial-complex (SHIC), have evaporated into thin air, let a modest proposal be submitted thusly:

    THE PROBLEM OF LOBBYIST-LEGISLATOR INTERCOURSE: WHAT IS TO BE DONE

    All Texas legislators, including staff, should be required to wear tax-payer funded body cameras at all times when on duty, and all verbal and nonverbial interactions with lobbyists should be transmitted in real time, audio-visually recorded, and stored in a central electronic depository. The recording shall be continuously backed up into the cloud as well as regularly copied to an off-line storage device to guard against ransomware attack and hacking.

    Some rules should be formalized regarding media and public access to the electronic records, and procedures for affected persons to respond, correct, clarify, explain, or amplify with respect to recordings or transcriptions of recordings that are cleared to be released to the public, with appropriate notice provisions and timelines. This would be comparable to error correction of deposition transcripts by deposed witnesses, but would additionally allow for substantive elaboration as deemed warranted by each participant.

    Note that the covered interactions involve legislators and lege-staff solely in their respective official capacities, so privacy concerns are not an issue here.

    This approach would protect both parties in a lobbying interaction subject to the recording requirement against both misconduct and false accusations of misconduct, and would provide an evidentiary basis to bring and resolve complaints about alleged misconduct.

    Off-site interactions with lobbyists subject to registration should be prohibited categorically unless they take place in an approved location that allows for compliance with the electronic surveillance regime, and such surveillance is in fact activated.

    If the OTK commentator above is correct about the former VP’s modus operandi, we might dub it the

    Spouse of Mike Pence Electronic Chaperone PIA Improvement Act.

  18. Manny says:

    Jason, Hearst, aka Chronicle, is about as bad as the New York Post. They deal in character assassinations.

  19. Lobo says:

    THE DATE RAPE CIRCUS UNMASKED

    “The second woman, the investigator concluded, had manufactured the date rape drug story in an effort to conceal from her boyfriend the fact that she had gone home that night with another man. The ill effects both women felt may have been a result of drinking alcohol after receiving the coronavirus vaccine, the report said.”

    So now reports the Trib, a self-styled “quality” publication that won’t identify alleged victims of sexual assault by name.

    Falsely accuse a man of date rape, and you are entitled to anonymity based on having self-designated as an alleged victim. Just another choice with accompanying gender-based privilege.

    You see, when the perpetrator of a false criminal accusation is a woman, she must be a victim by virtue of her gender.

    And alcohol consumption becomes and excuse, rather than an aggravating factor.

  20. Manny says:

    Lobo, the man’s name should never have been made public. The media should know better. Unfortunately, there are very few quality newspapers. The Houston Chronicle is one of those that is not a quality newspaper.

  21. […] here for the background. That’s a long excerpt, but there’s a lot more where that came from, […]

  22. C.L. says:

    Dr. Hochman, re: “Yeah, I am not a “woman hater.” I believed the woman who accused Joe Biden (Tara Reade), and all of the women that Gov Cuomo molested. I’ve called for impeachment of both. We need a president like Mike Pence, who makes sure not to go out without his wife, but gets ridiculed for it. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to explain.”

    Can I safely assume, based on the above statement, that you also believed the 20+ women who claimed to have been harassed or sexually assaulted by D.J. Trump ?

  23. Bill Daniels says:

    C.L.,

    Trump has an absolute defense to the charges of all of his accusers. None of them were hot enough to draw his interest. Here’s a guy who exclusively dates, beds, and weds, HOT women….models, Playmates, pr0n stars in their prime…..he has a lifetime history of not showing interest in, or fooling around with, ugly women. In that respect, he’s just like Pence. We all KNOW Pence won’t be around a woman he isn’t married to, by himself. That has protected him from shit exactly like the criminal plot to imprison an innocent man, this story. Trump’s history of exclusively showing interest in ONLY hot women protects him the same way.

    Well, here’s the thing…if you want to credibly accuse Trump of sexual assault, you better come up with a bombshell, HOT woman to make the allegation. A whole stream of homely women? C’mon, man! Why would Trump go slumming? He wouldn’t, he has zero history of slumming.

    Do I believe he walked backstage to see the Miss Universe contestants while they were in their swimsuits or underwear? Possibly. Could be. Good for him. I’d love to be backstage to see that, too. Who wouldn’t? Did he cheat on his wife? Seems like he did. I wouldn’t do that, but I elected a president, not a pastor.

    And for a trip down memory lane, here’s one of Trump’s accusers being interviewed by Anderson Cooper. Note that she’s not only fugly, she’s nuttier than squirrel turd.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AL3Y2NYBhw

    C.L.,

    As to who to believe, here’s something to consider. It seems all of the accusers of Cuomo and Biden, those women were all Democrats, all supporters and employees of the Democrat establishment. They aren’t angry conservatives with an ax to grind.

    Compare and contrast with the menagerie of Trump accusers. Compare and contrast with the managerie of Kavanaugh accusers (who are not PROVEN liars). All the women that went after Trump and Kav were hard core leftists. They had an ideological ax to grind with both men. The women accusing Cuomo were in his fold. They ideologically alligned WITH Cuomo. Can you see the difference?

  24. Bill Daniels says:

    Correction: the women who went after Kav WERE proven liars.

    From the “all aboard the rape train” chick, to the Ford woman, they all lied their asses off, with zero negative consequences, because they were on the right team.

    Need a reminder?

    https://www.newsweek.com/christine-blasey-ford-attorney-debra-katz-roe-v-wade-video-politically-motivated-testimony-1458217

    “A video circulating on social media shows Christine Blasey Ford’s attorney telling attendees at a feminist conference that her client’s testimony against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was a politically motivated move to protect Roe v. Wade.”

    Despicable. Just like this story about the innocent Texas lobbyist.

  25. Bill Daniels says:

    Manny,

    “Where is the report, Bill?”

    Here is the report, Manny:

    https://capitolinside.com/daterape.pdf

    Of particular interest is section S37

    Shout out to Wolf for the link!

  26. C.L. says:

    Yup, that was Trump alright – always holding himself, and those around him, to high/unimpeachable offense standards.

  27. Manny says:

    Bill, did you read the report, one of the women got sick and based on what one of her friends statement to her, she believed that she had been drugged. Thus no charges were filed for her reporting that she had been drugged.

    That is the problem with rumors; the media should have ever used no names.

    Trump is one ugly-looking orange buffoon; of course, he has to resort to assaulting women or paying for them.

  28. Lobo says:

    What shall we do with the drunken staffers,
    What shall we do with the drunken staffers,
    What shall we do with the drunken staffers,
    … Early in the morning ?

    Take ’em to the sobering center and schedule them for an exit interview at Human Resources when the wayward ladies are lucid again and ready for their walking papers.

    https://www.oaoa.com/local-news/government/landgraf-staffer-resigns-following-investigation/