RICHMOND, Va. — The day after Virginia State Delegate Joe Morrissey (D – Henrico) was sentenced to jail, politicians from both sides of the aisle called for the legislator’s resignation.
“In light of his conviction on these disturbing charges, the Governor believes Del. Morrissey should resign immediately,” Brian Coy, a spokesman for Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said.
Morrissey entered an Alford plea Friday in connection to charges he had an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old staff member. Under Morrissey’s plea, he would spend six months in jail, but be granted work release to head to the General Assembly while it was in session.
But Morrissey’s fellow Democrats said they would rather he not join them.
“In light of his conviction for Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, the House Democratic Caucus calls for the immediate resignation of Delegate Joe Morrissey,” a statement from the House Democratic Caucus read. “The House of Delegates is the oldest legislative body in the United States of America and should hold its members to the highest standards of ethical conduct. A conviction arising out of sexual misconduct involving a minor, accompanied by significant active jail time, and legislative service while serving in a jail work release program is not consistent with those standards.”
“This is a very troubling case” Minority Leader David Toscano continued, “and disqualifies him from serving in the House. Our citizens are looking very closely at their legislators and the integrity of the body and his trust with his constituents and his colleagues has been broken. For the good of the General Assembly and the Commonwealth, he should immediately resign, and we are actively exploring all available options, including removal, if he does not.”
The Republican Party of Virginia agreed Morrissey should no longer serve in the General Assembly and took Democrats to task for waiting a day to make their feelings known.
“Democrat Joe Morrissey should resign his seat immediately. Each day that he fails to do so is a disgrace not only to himself, but to the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Republican Party of Virginia chairman Pat Mullins said in a statement. “It is unconscionable that after a full day, elected Democrats are just now joining the calls for Morrissey to go. Should a man who has been convicted of taking advantage of a 17 year old, and who will spend the upcoming General Assembly session in jail resign his post? It’s not a difficult question, and Democrats, the party that claims to carry the banner for women, should have taken about 2 seconds to answer it.”
This is a developing story.