Resident Says Mayor Sent Private Facebook Messages
Mayor Pete Muldoon, who promised to address the controversy surrounding the release of Sheriff’s Office reports about a first-degree sexual assault investigation at Monday’s Town Council meeting was shut down by the Vice Mayor, Hailey Morton Levinson.
Shortly after having Morton-Levinson read a proclamation about Domestic Violence awareness, The Mayor said he wanted to address the allegations and said, “There is a false rumor being spread about me around the community. This allegation is false, it was thoroughly investigated and I would refer you to the statements made by the county attorney that both the county attorney and the investigator concluded that not only was there no probable cause but, in fact, no crime had actually occurred.”
At that point Morton Levinson interrupted Muldoon saying, “Mister Mayor, I have to interrupt just because I don’t think this is an appropriate time or use of a town council meeting. I would just ask that if you have comments to make on your personal situation that you do that in another setting.”
Muldoon responded by saying” That’s fair, I will finish one part of this and I will skip the rest of it and I will say that I am here tonight to do the job the we are gathered to do, that we’re elected to do and that’s all I really wanted to say about this and I’ll say more about it later but tonight we are here to do town business.”
In an article in the October 1st edition of the Jackson Hole News and Guide, Muldoon said he denied the allegations and said the Sheriff’s Office broke the law by releasing the reports naming him as the accused.
County and Prosecuting Attorney Erin Weisman referred Jackson Hole Radio to her official response to questions from the News and Guide which said, “The Teton County Sheriff’s Office responded on September 25, 2020, with documents from two different cases. In one case, the name of the alleged victim was redacted. There is no ongoing prosecution or investigation of either case, thus under current case law and statutes in Wyoming, the documents may be released. The release of the name of an alleged actor is not released prior to the filing of an information or indictment. In this case, prosecution was declined, and at that point the records may be released.”
The response continued, “As to the sexual assault allegation, a complete investigation was completed by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). In early January 2019, DCI brought its investigative report to Chief Deputy Prosecutor Clark Allan. As part of Mr. Allan’s review process in determining whether or not to file criminal charges, Mr. Allan discussed the investigation report with the DCI agent and with the alleged victim. The DCI agent concluded that the evidence did not support probable cause, and it was the opinion of the DCI agent that no crime had occurred. Based upon Mr. Allan’s analysis and the conclusion of the DCI investigation, Mr. Allan declined prosecution. Therefore, no charges were filed.”
Then, local resident Eden Morris spoke under public comment and described an online encounter with mayor over the weekend.
In response to a Facebook post where Morris described her own sexual assault, Muldoon sent her private messages to ask her to remove her post which she said, “Was written to reflect my personal experiences with sexual assault not the case brought against him in 2018.”
She said she didn’t know Mayor Muldoon and she had no knowledge of the sexual assault allegations made in 2018. “I don’t know him personally,” she said, “I have never met him or encountered him in any way until the morning of October 4th.”
In one message sent to Morris, Muldoon wrote, “When that investigation comes out, every single post from every woman who is posting about the trauma they’ve experienced will be revisited, scrutinized and discredited to some degree.” He added, “I think unfortunate. Until the State releases that report, I don’t have a way to defend myself. But it will come out and it will feed into the narrative that women lie. That sucks”
Morris submitted screenshots of the text messages to members of the town council to be part of the public record.
Morris said Muldoon, “Chose to use his position of power to intimidate a woman he did not know. That was a mistake.”
“The words and actions of Mayor Muldoon are toxic, inexcusable, and infuriating,” she said. “I join with countless other women in demanding his immediate resignation.”
After hearing the public statement of Morris, Mayoral candidate Michael Kudar commented, “Given the incredibly brave public comment from Eden, a survivor of sexual assault in our community, that the Jackson Hole Mayor sought her out after she told her own truth in my view that is digital harassment. The entire town council ought to have asked him to give up his gavel. Muldoon had no business chairing this Town Council meeting. How many women might have added public comment if they didn’t feel unsafe? We will never know. To Eden, thank you for your truth, your bravery, your leadership.”
Kudar noted “The Domestic Violence Awareness Month Proclamation unanimously passed tonight called on the public not to be silent. The public wants to know now, did any of the town council members know of this 2018 allegation against the Jackson Mayor? If so, when and why would they themselves stay silent?”