A Republican lawmaker in Idaho had his permit to carry a concealed gun revoked because he lied about a rape case from his youth on the application. But he can carry a concealed handgun anyway, because in Idaho, state legislators are allowed to carry guns, even though ordinary citizens must apply for a permit.
Now the first-term state rep, Mark Patterson, says that the county sheriff is staging a political hit against him, trying to “shut me down and silence me and get me the hell out of the way,” because he has scrutinized the way Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney spends his department’s money, according to a detailed report in the Idaho Statesman.
The whole saga goes back to 1974, when Patterson (pictured) pleaded guilty to a rape which the legislator now not only says he did not commit, but he claims his memory has been wiped clean of that time period due to chemotherapy he received to treat a case of Hepatitis C he contracted on a visit to the dentist.
You following all this? Good, stick with it. It gets better.
Here’s what the police report from Tampa, Fla., says that Patterson did on May 15, 1974, when he was 21.
The time was around 1 am. Patterson was at a bar when he saw a woman crying in the parking lot. So he offered her a ride home. But instead of taking her home, he drove her to his own apartment. The woman tried to get away, but Patterson chased her down, silenced her by clamping his hand over her mouth and forced her into his apartment.
Patterson owned an 85-pound Doberman. He told the woman that he’d command the dog to attack her if she didn’t have sex with him. He also told the woman that he belonged to a biker gang and that his buddies would come after her if she talked.
Today, Patterson denies that any of that happened. He says the cops made it all up and that he has no memory of that time anyway, due to his chemo-induced amnesia. But in 1974 he took a prosecutor’s deal and pled guilty to “assault with intent to rape.”
He somehow forgot to mention that plea on his gun permit application. Twice. First in 2007 then again in 2012.
Three years after the offense to which he pled guilty, Paterson was charged with another rape, but acquitted.
After the Idaho Statesman reported on this story Sunday, Patterson issued a statement Monday with a new version of the 39-year-old case. He now says that the victim in his 1974 rape case recanted her allegation. She accused him of rape because he wouldn’t give her money, he now says.
Quoted by the Statesman on Sunday, Patterson said that though his wife is aware of the 1974 rape, his children are not. “If this comes out — and I’m not guilty — it will absolutely destroy my family,” he said.
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The self-described “Constitutional Republican” sent a letter to Raney on May 22, asking for “details of all incoming money that is public and private,” Patterson wrote. “Also all expenses in detail, to whom, who and or what in the amount received.”
He sent the letter, Patterson says, because, “These guys are doing something big-time illegal.”
That same day, Patterson received a letter from Rainey revoking his gun permit because Rainey lied about the old rape case on his application.
Raney scoffs at the idea that he was politically motivated.
"The questions that Mr. Patterson raises and the allegations he makes are irrelevant to the fact that he lied on his initial application and his renewal application,” Raney said. “That and only that is the reason for our actions.”
The catch is, Patterson can still carry his gun. A 1990 law makes Idaho the only state in which legislators are exempt from gun permit requirements, an anomaly that rankles some lawmakers.
“I think the message it sends is that elected officials get perks,” said Rep. Luke Malek, also a Republican. “And when it comes to the Second Amendment, I think that’s particularly disturbing, because essentially, it’s saying we should have more ability to protect ourselves than the average citizen.”