Lawmakers Blast Hogan; Governor Doubles Down on Rockville Rape Charges (VIDEO)
Three Montgomery County elected claimed Tuesday that Gov. Larry Hogan’s Facebook comments on the rape charges at Rockville High School politicize the crime, while the governor further criticized Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) saying school officials “had something to hide.”
The lawmakers — delegates Eric Luedtke and Kirill Reznik, and County Council President Roger Berliner — were responding to Hogan’s Facebook comments where he called on Montgomery to assist federal authorities during the investigation of the crime.
“The public has a right to know how something this tragic and unacceptable was allowed to transpire in a public school,” the governor wrote.
Later Tuesday, Hogan took his disapproval a step further.
“There are many unanswered questions. We’re trying to get to the bottom of it. Montgomery County government and Montgomery County police are cooperating. The school system is not. It appears they have something to hide,” Hogan said. “We’re going to keep pressing and we’re going to try to get to the bottom of it.”
Annapolis radio station WNAV posted the Republican governor’s comments on YouTube.
Berliner, Luedtke of Burtonsville and Reznik of Germantown, all Democrats, objected to what they called Hogan politicizing the incident.
“I am appalled that our Governor in his Facebook post,” Berliner wrote, “would irresponsibly add fuel to the fire by implying that Montgomery County is not fully cooperating with any federal official in response to this crime. We have been, and will continue to fully cooperate with federal officials in this case and in any case in which public safety has been put at risk.”
“Rape is a horrifying act, no matter who commits it, no matter where. And any crime in our schools is awful, because our schools should be safe spaces,” Luedtke wrote on his Facebook page. “But [it’s] also awful to try to use the rape of a young girl to score political points, especially when you twist the truth to do it. Larry Hogan should be ashamed of himself.”
Some have pointed out that federal law prevented Montgomery County Public Schools from denying an education to the two students charged in the incident.
Reznik was harsher in his statement. He wrote:
“Governor Larry Hogan has been Governor for over two years. In that time, thousands of rapes have occurred in Maryland. Each one is a horrifying tragedy.
Has Larry Hogan added money to the budget to clear our backlog of rape kits to help solve these crimes? No. The legislature is doing that.
Has he worked with the legislature to take guns out of the hands of domestic abusers? No. That would hurt his NRA rating. The legislature is doing that without his support.
Has he added money to get more cops and prosecutors to focus on these crimes. No.
But the minute he has a chance to exploit anger and hate against immigrants by using this tragedy as a foil in true Trump-like fashion, he jumps at the opportunity.
I’ve had a number of policy and political differences with the Governor over these two years, but today, I am truly ashamed that he is my Governor.”
One local official supported the governor: County Executive Ike Leggett.
“Naturally as a governor he is upset, and certainly I would be if I were the governor. I am upset as a local official,” Leggett said Wednesday.