Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison has denied he abused his former partner after her son made accusations against him on social media. Ellison, who is also a top Democratic National Committee official and candidate for Minnesota attorney general, was accused of domestic violence against Karen Monahan in a Facebook post by her son on Saturday.
In the Facebook post, Austin Monahan said he found video evidence of the abuse on his mother’s computer after she ended her relationship with Ellison in 2017. He said the video shows Ellison dragging Karen Monahan out of bed and screaming at her. Ellison issued a statement on Sunday saying that the video does not exist because no abuse ever happened during the relationship.
“Karen and I were in a long-term relationship which ended in 2016, and I still care deeply for her well-being,” Ellison said in a statement released by his AG campaign spokesman. “This video does not exist because I never behaved in this way, and any characterization otherwise is false.”
Karen Monahan, a political activist who works with the Sierra Club as an organizer tweeted a link to her son’s Facebook page. Monahan has been tweeting about her experiences for several months.
Monahan wrote, “I am so proud of my son for his courage. But this situation impacted me. If you have anything to say, please say it me and leave him out of it. No nasty comments to him. I shut down my facebook 2 days ago because I didn’t want my kids seeing post people were posting to me. I really can’t activate it now cause will be worse for them. My son is getting bullied on FB, DO NOT BULLY MY KIDS. tweet to me and leave them out of it.”
Monahan also tweeted, “My kids found over a year of text and video of the abuse on my computer. They confronted him in a text. He text me about it & played the victim. No remorse toward what my kids must be feeling. Abuse impacts the whole family.”
She also wrote, “What my son said is true. Every statement he made was true.@keithellison, you know you did that to me. I have given every opportunity to get help and heal. Even now, u r willing to say my son is lying and have me continue to leak more text and info just so others will believe him for you to get help and heal. Told u that would be what I would could consider a Just ending to this hell my family and I have been through. I said that the night before u announced ur run 4 AG.”
You can read Austin Monahan’s full Facebook post here or below:
Please read, if you care about my mother please share.
I love you momma, you wont have to stand alone
My name is Austin Monahan and I am writing this letter on behalf of me and my brother.
My brother and I watched our mom come out of pure hell after getting out of her relationship with Keith Ellison. For several months we knew something wasn’t right and couldn’t figure it out. When we asked our mom if everything was ok, she told us she was dealing with some stress and would be ok.
In the middle of 2017, I was using my moms computer trying to download something and I clicked on a file, I found over 100 text and twitters messages and video almost 2 min long that showed Keith Ellison dragging my mama off the bed by her feet, screaming and calling her a “fucking bitch” and telling her to get the fuck out of his house. The messages I found, were mixed with him consistently telling my mom he wanted her back, he missed her, he knew he fucked up and we wished he could do things different, he would victim shaming, bully her, and threaten her if she went public. I text him and told him I know what you did to my mama and a few other things.
I met up with my mom that night and asked her what happened. She said nothing happened until I told her I saw a video and hell of a lot of messages saying something different. She finally talked. My brother and I were so angry and hurt for our mom. We were ready to go public but our mom begged us not to and she along with others convinced us it wasn’t in our moms best interest.
I saw message after message through out all that time, where my mom was telling him she wasn’t going back to him but still saw his humanity and offered restorative justice. I honestly don’t see how she would offer him that, but thats her choice.
Sitting all this time, watching what our mom went through and not being able to say or do anything was hard as hell. None of you know the hell our family has gone through. I don’t think half of you would even care. We watched her so called political friends stand by say or do nothing. People had an idea what happened and never reached out to my mom. The same people who are posting about social justice are ready to smear my mom, protect a person who abused her and broke the law. You think we give a shit about a politics when we saw what our mom went through? She may not matter to none of you, but she is our mom, our kids grandmother and she is actually someone. There is a lot more he has done to my mom and others that we saw in the text but our mom can decide if and when she wants to tell the world that part.
Whether we saw the video or read all those messages, we still would have believed her if she had told us. #Ibelieveher
My mom has always tried to protect me and my brother. She doesn’t have to protect us anymore and we aren’t letting her stand alone. When we found out our mom was planning on sharing her story, that is all we needed to hear for us to share ours and stand with our mom. You want to smear someone, try to lie about a person who didn’t do shit to deserve the ongoing emotional, physical abuse, smear me and my brother.
I use to believe the Democrats were the ones who would stand by a person who went through this kind of abuse, now I know both Democrats and Republicans could care less when it comes to violence toward women and girls.
I have learned a lot about how patriarchy has shaped me as a 25 year old through all this. I just became a father and I am working on how patriarchy influenced thoughts ad decisions I have made as a young man so I can teach my son better. I am starting today by standing with my mom, my sons grandma. It is not just on women and girls to speak out, it is on men to do some of the emotional work. I’m not here to prove shit to anyone, I’m just stating facts. You can take it or leave it.
Mom, I am sure you are getting contacted about this post. Just know we love you and we are standing by you.
#Ibelieveher #wearemanenough #Timesup
In December 2017, Monahan spoke to TV host Ahmed Tharwat about being a #MeToo survivor and discussed abuse she says she suffered during a previous relationship, but she did not name her alleged abuser during that interview, which you can watch here:
Ellison was married to Kim Ellison from 1987 to 2012, when they divorced. It is not clear when Ellison, a 55-year-old father of four who has been in Congress since 2007, began a relationship with Monahan. Ellison posted photos with both Karen Monahan and with her son, Austin Monahan, on Twitter in 2016:
Karen Monahan posted a photo of her granddaughter on Twitter and wrote that she was inspired by her to share her story. “This little girl is who I owe my loyalty to, not a political party, candidate, the sheep who follow without question. Nope, this little girl is why I must and will share my story,” she wrote.
Monahan also shared two text messages she says she sent to Ellison in December 2017:
Ellison’s opponents in the state attorney general race have responded to the accusations made against him. Matt Pelikan, the endorsed Democrat in the primary race, wrote on Twitter, “Last night allegations against Congressman Keith Ellison were made public. The allegations are extremely troubling. We all deserve a prompt, transparent, and thorough response from Keith and I ask him to respond without delay. I believe women. We must believe women. This is especially true for those who have the courage to come forward with their experiences. I have committed to believing and supporting survivors in my personal and professional life. This instance is no different.”
Another primary opponent, Debra Hilstrom, shared Austin Monahan’s Facebook post and wrote, “This post was brought to my attention because I was tagged in this post. Domestic Violence is never ok. The incidents described are troubling. I call on Keith Ellison to answer these allegations.”
Tom Foley, a third opponent in the primary, issued a statement saying, “If there are records and video of his interaction with the victim, those materials also should be turned over to law enforcement for immediate investigation.”
The primary is scheduled for Tuesday. Ellison decided against running for re-election to his House seat in an effort to win the state attorney general position. Ellison is also the vice deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, a position he has held since 2017. The DNC and its chairman, Tom Perez, have not commented about the accusations.