The 71-year-old Arizona Republican, whose campaign slogan is “Pro-Taxpayer, Pro-Constitution and Pro-Family,” abruptly resigned on March 27 rather than comply with the State House Ethics Committee’s deadline to hand over documents related to his case.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Stringer Was Charged in the Early 1980s With Sexually Assaulting Underaged Boys; the Charges Were Later Expunged
In 1983, the Baltimore Police Maryland Police Department charged a then 35-year-old Stringer with eight sex crimes.
According to the police report, a man approached a 15-year-old-boy and his friend in Baltimore’s Patterson Park and asked if they “wanted to go to his house and have some sex.” Patterson Park was well-known as an area where sex and drugs could be scored with ease. Investigators stated that the boys went to Stringer’s apartment, where he performed a sex act on them, asked for the boys to reciprocate and then gave them $10 each. One victim revealed there had been approximately 11 interactions with the man they called “Mr. Dave” that involved oral sex and sodomy. Detectives also detailed that Stringer had showered with one of the boys.
Investigators have not disclosed why Stringer received a “probation before judgment” sentence or why he was only required to serve five years probation, pay a fine and do community service.For unknown reasons, his record was eventually expunged in 1990, essentially wiping away all traces of the incident. Stringer went on to become a businessman, attorney, and teacher, who successfully passed all background and fingerprint checks.
Once the Phoenix New Times article appeared, Arizona Representative Kelly Townsend filed an ethics complaint on January 28 asking that the sex charges against Stringer be investigated. Arizona Representative Reginald Bolding followed suit by also filing an ethics complaint. Bolding had previously made a motion to expel Stringer from the House, later favoring an investigation. “With Representative Stringer here, this cloud continues to hang over his body and it makes it very difficult for us to move forward,” he stated. Over 400 pages of documents concerning Springer’s behavior have been made public.
2. Stringer Received Counseling From a Pedophilia Expert
Court documents also ordered Stringer to “seek admission to Dr. Berlin’s Program at Hopkins,” referring to Johns Hopkins associate professor and pedophilia expert Dr. Frederick S. Berlin.
Berlin is the founder of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic and specializes in treating a number of sexual disorders including pedophilia, voyeurism, and exhibitionism. Berlin is recognized for giving lectures on topics such as “Sex Offenders: Criminals or Patient?” and “Evidenced-based Treatment of Sex Offenders.” In the 1980s Berlin and his mentor, the renowned psychologist John Money worked on treating male sex offenders with the female contraceptive Depo-Provera.
According to a study conducted by Berlin that included approximately 400 pedophiles, more than 90% of those who received treatment “were not accused of a subsequent sexual offense. “I believe that many of these individuals who did succeed did so because they could get a fresh start, they were accepted in their communities, they could work, they weren’t feeling stigmatized,” he told National Public Radio host Farai Chideya.
3. Stringer Says the ‘Salacious Allegations’ ‘Had no Basis in Fact’
In a Facebook post from March 30, Stringer fiercely defended himself, saying “Some 35 years ago when I lived in Maryland, I faced salacious allegations of sexual improprieties that had no basis in fact. 35 years ago those charges were false but they threatened me personally and put my professional life as an attorney at risk.” Stringer asserts that he took the route of “probation before judgment” in the hopes of saving his career and personal reputation.
Stringer’s attorneyalso denies the allegations leveled against her client, stating in a TV interview that the charges were “mere allegations, that they’re false. It was a false arrest.” Chenal added that since Stringer was given probation before judgment, there was no criminal conviction.
After initially questioning whether Stringer’s failure to disclose his record to the Arizona Bar should be investigated, the case was dismissed in mid-March, citing that the DC Bar had issued a dismissal in 1984, stating there was “no moral terpitude by the plaintiff.” Stringer is considered to be “in good standing” with the DC, Maryland and Arizona Bars but only maintains an active license in Arizona.
4. Stringer’s Racist Comments Were Also Under Investigation
Stringer often made racist comments. During a live-streamed speech before the Yavapai County Republican Men’s Forum, he commented that immigrants were “politically destabilizing,” and there “weren’t enough white kids to go around.”
The comments made by Stringer were so offensive that the Yavapai Republican Executive Committee voted 5-2 in support of his resignation. “For these reasons, the Executive Committee of the Yavapai County Republican Committee emphatically condemns the remarks and beliefs expressed by Rep. Stringer this week.
The lawmaker also made racially charged comments that were taped while debating an Arizona State University student and Prescott High School Assistant Principal reported that in 2016 Stringer ridiculed Asian student Brandon Nguyen after he was awarded an esteemed scholarship. Tenney’s son Clark were finalists for the same scholarship, which was awarded to Nguyen. After the scholarship recipient was announced, Tenney claims Stringer approached him and said, “There’s diversity for you.”
5. The Judge in Stringer’s Maryland Case Faced Similar Accusations & Later Died by Suicide
Baltimore Judge Robert Hammerman was as well-known for founding a boy’s civic organization known as the Lancer’s Club, as he was for being a no-nonsense jurist. The Lancers Club was an organization created by Hammerman in the 1946 as group for local teenage boys. According to a 1995 article in the Baltimore Sun, Hammerman was their “guide, mentor and inspiration.”
But according to the Baltimore Sun, the judge faced scrutiny in 2000 when a 17-year-old boy stood up to give a speech before an audience of 450 people, which included Hammerman, and accused the respected judge of looking at him inappropriately in a locker room after playing tennis. “For years, I have been haunted by these events,” the student revealed, “He did not touch me. [But] it made me feel extremely humiliated,” he added. The student’s story was taken so seriously that the school attended by the student suspended activities with the Lancer’s Club. Hammerman denied the allegations.
On November 11, 2004, Hammerman committed suicide by a gunshot wound to the chest. His body was later found in the woods near his Baltimore residence after more than 2,000 of his friends received a 10-page mailed letter stating that the reason he killed himself was due to the progression of Alzheimer’s. “The thought of Alzheimer’s is dreadful to me. I would need institutionalization,” he explained. The well-respected and longest-serving trial judge in Maryland’s history carefully planned out his suicide sixteen months earlier although no friends or family noticed any signs of memory loss.