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Dem Star Cocchiarella Sues Dartmouth Student

Jack Cocchiarella, the progressive Gen Z Democratic activist accused of sexual harassment, is now suing a Dartmouth College student for allegedly spreading rumors about sexual assaults online. 

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court in Concord, targets Dartmouth student Nathan Kim. It claims Kim spread false stories online about Cocchiarella raping and assaulting several women on campus.

Cocchiarella, who has done paid political consulting for Democrats like Florida’s Charlie Crist and Georgia’s Marcus Flowers, has denied all accusations of any sexual impropriety. Cocchiarella further claims he has never been investigated by Dartmouth’s Title IX Office.

NHJournal spoke to one woman who said Cocchiarella sexually harassed her and inappropriately touched her. That incident resulted in Cocchiarella receiving a letter from Dartmouth’s Title IX Office laying out a disciplinary course of action and threatening further sanctions if Cocchiarella did not comply. The copy obtained by NHJournal included what appeared to be Cocchiarella’s signature.

As rumors about Cocchiarella swirled online last summer, the Dartmouth Democrats Twitter account published a tweet claiming Cocchiarella was kicked out of the club due to multiple allegations of sexual assault. That tweet was later taken down and the club issued a statement saying that it did not condone the use of the tweet. NHJournal contacted a source close to the situation who confirmed Cocchiarella was in fact kicked out over the accusations. 

Kim’s attorney, Benjamin King of Concord-based Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, declined to comment on the specific allegations laid out in the lawsuit.

Cocchiarella’s lawsuit alleges Kim started an online harassment campaign using anonymous accounts on various social media platforms accusing Cocchiarella of rape as he was gaining fame for his progressive views.

“Kim individually and in concert with others has continued to propagate and publish the false statements and lies that Jack is a ‘rapist,’ ‘raped his classmates,’ ‘raped 6 women,’ ‘raped 8 women,’ ‘raped unconscious girls,’ and is ‘getting away with rape,’” the lawsuit states.

The negative attention stirred by Kim’s posts has threatened Cocchiarella’s lucrative political career, tarnished his reputation as he transfers to Columbia University, and even caused threats according to the lawsuit.

“To this day, Jack lives in fear for his life and safety as a result of the false statements and lies being spread by Kim,” the lawsuit states.

Cocchiarella’s attorney, Susan Stone, told NHJournal in August her client is innocent of any sexual violence.

“To be clear, Jack has never been accused of sexual assault, and he has never been the subject of a criminal or Title IX campus investigation,” Stone wrote in a letter to NHJournal. “He vehemently denies that he was subject to those allegations.”

The lawsuit claims Kim’s harassment started after Cocchiarella confronted Congressman Madison Cawthorn when the North Carolina Republican made an appearance at Dartmouth College along with Republican congressional candidate Karoline Leavitt.

Cocchiarella’s video of his confrontation with Cawthorn went viral and helped propel Cocchiarella into becoming a progressive influencer. According to a report in the Free Beacon, Crist’s campaign has since paid Cocchiarella’s firm $2,250 for digital consulting. His firm got another $40,000 from the Flowers’ campaign. 

Cocchiarella also appeared on a YouTube television show for the Lincoln Project, the anti-Trump political action committee founded by alleged sexual predator John Weaver. Cocchiarella was on the show to plug his own political podcast, Zoomed In.

The alleged victim who spoke to NHJournal said Cocchiarella used his status as a male feminist and progressive to ingratiate himself to her. His behavior deteriorated over a few weeks into stalking-type behavior and included unwanted touching.

“What was scary is he said a lot of really misogynistic things,” she said.

The woman told NHJournal she was shocked by Cocchiarella’s online persona as a feminist ally and progressive fighter when she feared him.

“How does he have this platform as a feminist?” she said.

Dartmouth Dem Social Media Star Denies Sexual Assault Claims

A lawyer for Gen Z political social-media star Jack Cocchiarella, reportedly kicked out of the Dartmouth Democrats after several sexual assault accusations surfaced last year, told NHJournal Cocchiarella denied the story.

“To be clear, Jack has never been accused of sexual assault, and he has never been (the) subject of a criminal or Title IX campus investigation,” Cocchiarella’s attorney Susan Stone wrote to NHJournal. “He vehemently denies that he was subject to those allegations.”

Stone sent a letter to NHJournal this week asking the news outlet to publish a Cocchiarella-written op-ed so he can make his case disputing the allegations. Before NHJournal had a chance to respond to Stone’s letter, however, an assistant to Stone asked that the letter be “recalled.” No explanation was provided. 

Cocchiarella has not responded to multiple requests for comment on the story. NHJournal has invited the Democratic activist to appear on the outlet’s podcast to address the allegations.

NHJournal spoke to one woman who says she was sexually harassed by Cocchiarella last year. Despite Cocchiarella’s denials, she provided NHJournal with a copy of a letter from the Ivy League school’s Title IX office to Cocchiarella detailing her allegations. The letter handed down a form of discipline against Cocchiarella and threatened him with further action. Cocchiarella’s signature is on the letter obtained by NHJournal.

Stone claims that not only has there never been any investigation, but Cocchiarella left Dartmouth in good standing.

The woman who complained to Dartmouth’s Title IX office about Cocchiarella’s sexual harassment said this week she could not believe Cocchiarella is persisting in denials, calling them ridiculous.

“I honestly am speechless about it all,” the woman said. “Also, very interesting they’re claiming that Dartmouth has no record of a Title IX investigation as that is so categorically untrue.”

Stone’s letter claimed Cocchiarella was never investigated for sexual assault, and that the accusations stem from a political trolling operation to harm him as he gained fame for his progressive advocacy.

“Since October of last year, Jack has been the victim of political trolling,” Stone wrote. “As the (NHJournal) article observed, Jack has built a strong political platform, and he personally confronted Congressman Madison Cawthorn when Cawthorn appeared at Dartmouth. Two days after that very public confrontation, the false reports of sexual assault allegations (that never existed) against Jack began to appear online.”

Stone also disputed the claim that Cocchiarella was kicked out of the Dartmouth Democrats after the sexual assault allegations became known on campus. She claimed the tweet from the Dartmouth Democrats’ account stating Cocchiarella was kicked out because of the accusations was later deleted.

NHJournal contacted a source close to the situation who confirmed that Cocchiarella was in fact kicked out over the accusations.

UPDATE: This week, the Dartmouth Democrats Twitter account put out a statement distancing the group from the tweet in question, though the statement falls short of a denial:

The @DartDems deleted a Tweet about Jack Cocchiarella that had been posted on July 28th, 2022 to their Twitter account. The Dartmouth Dems do not condone any use of that deleted Tweet.”

Stone claimed Cocchiarella had been subject to death threats in the wake of the accusations. She claimed “authorities” were working with Cocchiarella to uncover who was behind the accusations, but failed to say if that meant a law enforcement agency of any kind.

“The false reports have been devastating to Jack. He has been doxed and his life is being threatened. Jack has also suffered damage to his reputation,” Stone wrote.

Cocchiarella transferred from Dartmouth to Columbia University in recent months, and Stone said the accusation would make it hard for him to safely transition to another school.

It was not clear what impact the accusations have had on Cocchiarella’s professional life. As a rising star in the liberal media, Cocchiarella appears on podcasts and television shows. He also earns thousands as a Gen Z digital consultant for the likes of Georgia’s Marcus Flowers, the Democrat running against Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Florida Congressman Charlie Crist, who recently won the Democratic primary to take on Gov. Ron DeSantis in the fall.

‘I Hope You Get Skull F***ed to Death:’ Opponent of Anti-CRT Law Pleads Guilty to Threatening Lawmaker

Former Allenstown Middle School instructor Daniel Rattigan has pleaded guilty to charges he threatened to mutilate state Rep. Keith Ammon (R-New Boston) and sexually assault one of his family members in response to the Republican lawmaker’s support for anti-CRT legislation.

“I’ve gotten crazy emails, but nothing like this one. It was unhinged,” Ammon said.

Rattigan, 31, pleaded guilty in Goffstown District Court on Friday to two misdemeanor counts — one for harassment and one for obstructing government administration. Two other identical charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

Rattigan will not do jail time, but instead has $1,240 in fines which are suspended for one year so long as he remains on good behavior. Rattigan is not to have any contact with Ammon, other than writing an apology letter.

“I doubt it will be sincere,” Ammon said.

Rattigan was reportedly upset with Ammon’s efforts to prevent schools from teaching Critical Race Theory-based content in New Hampshire classrooms. Ammon was one of the original sponsors of HB 544, which “prohibits the dissemination of certain divisive concepts related to sex and race in state contracts, grants, and training programs.” That legislation was set aside for an anti-discrimination law passed as part of the 2021 budget.

Rattigan called Ammon a racist in the messages and he made numerous obscene and graphic threats against Ammon and a family member.

“I truly hope you get skull f***ed to death you pathetic privileged white [expletive] boi,” Rattigan wrote in one of the messages.

Rattigan sent the violent and obscene threats to Ammon via Facebook in late February, as the politics around the anti-CRT law were getting heated. Ammons said he and his family spent subsequent months worried for their safety. 

“We were making sure the house was safe and making sure there are no unexpected visitors, as you can imagine,” Ammon said.

The threats started coming in on the night of Feb. 25, and included numerous misspellings and punctuation mistakes. Ammon assumed Rattigan might have been intoxicated and would think better the next day and apologize. Instead, according to Ammon, Rattigan continued to display angry and unhinged behavior.

Ammon went to law enforcement the next day and reported the issue, first to the Protective Services of the General Court, the branch of the New Hampshire State Police that protects state representatives, and then to the New Boston Police Department. 

Rattigan lists his employment on LinkedIn as being an Educational Assistant at the Armand R. Dupont Middle School in Allenstown. The profile claims he has worked at the school since 2013. 

On Monday, Allenstown Superintendent Peter Warburton said Rattigan worked at the middle school for a month and a half in 2013 and has not been employed by the district since.

Contacted by NHJournal through his Facebook account, Rattigan asked that no story be written because he feared losing his job. He would not reveal where he works, but he minimized the repeated and escalating threats he made against Ammon and his family. 

“It was a rude empty comment that I apologized for,” Rattigan said in a message.

Rattigan’s language was extremely crude, but his claims that supporters of the anti-discrimination bill are racists echoes language used by Democratic leaders in the legislature and progressive activists. It’s an interesting claim given the law literally bans government-funded instructors from teaching that one race, sex, or group is inherently superior or inferior to another.

State Rep. Linda Harriot-Gathright (D-Nashua) opposes the anti-discrimination law because, she says, New Hampshire’s public schools are racist.

“This language robs young people of an inclusive and realistic education by targeting efforts to talk about systemic racism in schools,” she said when the law was passed. “We need to be looking at how our systems promote racial inequity and working towards solutions. Systematic racism is still alive and well.”

In Light of St. Paul’s Sexual Misconduct Report, Advocacy Groups Turn to Lawmakers for Solutions

After the bombshell report came out last week that found a disturbing number of faculty and staff members at St. Paul’s School committing sexual misconduct with students, advocacy groups are looking for political solutions to ensure that those incidents don’t happen again and justice is given to the victims.

St. Paul’s announced the findings Monday and admitted there were times when administrators at the elite prep school in Concord failed to adequately protect students on campus over a 40-year period from 1948 to 1988. The independent investigation by the Casner & Edwards law firm began after allegations surfaced against a former faculty member in 2000.

The investigation looked into allegations involving 34 faculty members and staff at St. Paul’s School, referred to as SPS in the report. The investigation determined that 13 school employees, 12 of whom were male, committed sexual misconduct and there were unsubstantiated claims of sexual misconduct by an additional 11 current and former faculty and staff.

“Put simply but starkly, several former faculty and staff sexually abused children in their care in a variety of ways, from clear boundary violations to repeated sexual relationships to rape,” the report found.

Substantiated cases included two chaplains, three teachers who ended up marrying students soon after they graduated St. Paul’s, and a top female administrator whose relationship with a male student in 1980 was well-known on campus.

The investigation found that the school has been willing to overlook alleged sexual misconduct in exchange for a teacher leaving, even giving one accused teacher letters of recommendation for a new job.

In a letter to the St. Paul’s community about the investigation, school officials said they wanted to make it public to be fully transparent and to learn from the school’s past mistakes so they can do better in the future.

“It is especially difficult when trust, the foundation of community, has been compromised. Our history with regard to sexual abuse and sexual misconduct is a painful one,” wrote Rector Michael Hirschfeld and Board of Trustees President Archibald Cox, Jr. “From the Board of Trustees to those charged with executing the mission on the grounds, the School is committed to confronting this history squarely so that it will remain a source of our continual improvement into the future.”

To make change, the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (NHCADSV) believes lawmakers should reform the statute of limitations in sexual assault cases. Under current state law, child victims of sexual abuse only have until their 30th birthday to file a lawsuit and until their 40th birthday to press criminal charges.

“It is a huge injustice to victims and it doesn’t acknowledge the true trauma of sexual assault,” said Jessica Eskeland, public policy specialist at the NHCADSV. “Sexual assault is not like any other crime. It can cause trauma and there is so much shame since the abuse usually happens at the hands of someone who they trust and respect. For many, they don’t feel ready to come forward until their 40s, 50s, or even 60s.”

There are two bills currently in the Legislature that would eliminate the statute of limitations on sexual assaults for children under 18 years old. Senate Bill 98 and Senate Bill 164 are both tabled in the Senate Judiciary Committee until the next legislative session in 2018.

“We’ll be working with lawmakers next year to tighten this up and have victims access justice whenever they’re ready,” Eskeland told NH Journal. “We want to make sure everyone is on a level playing field regardless of where they experienced violence.”

The NHCADSV would also like to fix what they see as a glaring loophole in the New Hampshire’s Safe Schools Act. Under the act, schools are not legally required to report misdemeanor sexual assault to police, leaving the decision to report up to the discretion of school officials. Misdemeanor sexual assault would are cases involving sexual contact between minors and other minors or young adults. The N.H. Safe Schools Act only refers to felony-level sex crimes and exempts simple assaults if the school has a policy for notifying parents.

Yet, the act directly conflicts with the state’s Child Protection Act, mandating schools report suspected instances of child abuse and neglect. Schools often have agreements, known as memorandums of understanding, with police agencies. St. Paul’s and the Concord Police Department signed an agreement in September 2012 and it remains in currently remains in effect. The current agreement is written in compliance with the N.H. Safe Schools Act and states that misdemeanor assaults should be handled on a case-by-case basis. There is nothing in the agreement, though, mentioning misdemeanor sexual assault.

 

Eskeland said one of the most important ways a school can help is to educate its staff, faulty, and students on sexual assault prevention. David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes against Children Research Center and a professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire, agreed in a Sunday op-ed in the Concord Monitor outlining steps schools should take to reduce their vulnerability.

He said schools need to send a clear message “that the era of ‘managing’ these offenses is over.” Schools need rules, training, and reminders about the high-risk situations in schools, they need to talk openly to students and faculty about the problem and about the responsibility of bystanders, and teachers need self-management tools.

Yet, he cautioned about trying to solve all the sexual misconduct issues in schools through legislation. He said research has found that the most effective solutions are through education and not through increasing sentences or penalties, which lawmakers might try to do.

“The schools are being asked to do so much and have various mandates that it is hard without additional resources and additional incentives to step up to the plate,” he told NH Journal. “I’m not sure…[it’s] best handled by legislation. They [lawmakers] might well end up creating more problems than solutions.”

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