RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Delegate Joe Morrissey (D-Henrico) was expected to make an announcement Sunday morning from the New Kingdom Christian Ministry.
It was believed that he would announce his resignation from the House of Delegates, after associates called for him to step down.
The pastor called the delegate to the altar during prayer.
Morrissey, who originally said he would speak around 10 a.m. Sunday, took the stage around 11:45 a.m. after the pastor called the delegate to the altar during prayer. He again proclaimed his innocence, and said he has a tough decision to make, in the "best interest" of his district.
After all was said and done, Morrissey merely discussed his future, and said he will announce his future moves, soon. Morrissey also reiterated that he is a fighter and then quoted Oscar Wilde.
Morrissey is sentenced to six months in jail, six months suspended, following his conviction of a misdemeanor on Friday. Morrissey accepted an Alford plea deal stemming from charges that he engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year old staff member. By entering an Alford plea, Morrissey did not admit he broke the law, but did admit there was enough evidence to convict him.
The political backlash against Morrissey has been swift.
Even though Morrissey has not stepped down, Henrico County School Board member Lamont Bagby announced he plans to run for Morrissey’s seat.
And Glen Allen High School teacher Matt Walton said he will officially announce his candidacy on Monday.
"I think it's tough to serve the people and then go to jail at night,” Walton said.
Additionally, many of Morrissey’s political colleagues including Gov. Terry McAuliffe called for his resignation.
“He should immediately resign, and we are actively exploring all available options including removal if he does not,” House Minority Leader David Toscano (D), said in a statement.
As part of the condition of his sentence, the lawmaker was out on work release Saturday when he spoke with CBS 6 Reporter Chelsea Rarrick in his General Assembly office.
“I’ve always been able to focus on the job ahead,” Morrissey in response to criticism he would be too distracted to properly serve his constituents during his days at the General Assembly, while serving his jail sentence at night.
The family of the teenage girl, who is now 18, were divided over the incident.
The teen is now pregnant, said one of her sisters, and that is why her mother and grandmother are defending Morrissey.
“I uncovered everything from the first text from the first encounter,” she said. “I followed them home. I witnessed things he knew I was going to testify to.”
“I think it is a travesty and a disgrace over him to be prosecuted on a misdemeanor,” said Deidra Warren, the teen’s mother. “The reason, and the only reason we are here today is because of a jealous friend of hers and unnamed family members that wanted to take Mr. Morrisey down for whatever reason.”
Myna Warren, the victim’s grandmother, said she believes Morrissey will prevail.