Defendants accused of a crime often declare their innocence at arraignment. Eric Bodenweiser did so on Oct. 22, when he turned himself in to Delaware State Police and pleaded not guilty to 113 felony sex charges.
But Bodenweiser and his attorney, Joe Hurley of Wilmington, went one step further in declaring Bodenweiser’s innocence. Hurley wrote a press release and sent it to news outlets, Nov. 17; the Cape Gazette requested and received a copy Nov. 20.
In the release, Hurley referenced fictional characters from Batman and Sesame Street to illustrate Bodenweiser’s predicament. Hurley also said his client’s hopes and dreams for the future have turned into a nightmare.
Bodenweiser, a well-known Sussex County Republican, won the party’s nomination for Georgetown’s Senate seat, unsaddling incumbent Sen. Joe Booth, R-Georgetown, in a Sept. 11 primary.
In October, Bodenweiser dropped out of the race. Days later, he was arrested because a 35-year-old Florida resident told Delaware State Police Bodenweiser raped him repeatedly over the course of three years when the man was between the ages of 10 and 13.
Bodenweiser, who was released from Sussex Correctional Institution Oct. 24, on $250,000 secured bail, faces 39 charges of first-degree unlawful sexual intercourse and 74 charges of second-degree unlawful sexual contact.
Bodenweiser now spends his days at his home on Lynch’s Lane in Georgetown under court-ordered GPS surveillance. A recent request to allow Bodenweiser to attend church services was denied by Superior Court Judge E. Scott Bradley.
In Hurley’s press release, he quotes Bodenweiser as saying, “The false allegation that has been presented close to a quarter of a century after the events alleged to have occurred is ‘Categorically, absolutely and forcefully denied! The events exist only in the twisted mind of the accuser.’”
If Bodenweiser had remained silent, he would have risked the public perception of guilt, Hurley wrote.
He said Bodenweiser stayed silent until now to get over the shock of the accusations and focus on his family, friends and political supporters. “His immediate withdrawal from the political arena reflected that concern,” Hurley wrote.
Hurley compared the destruction of Bodenweiser’s reputation to a victim of Batman villain, The Joker. “The human toll on the innocent, whether victims of a psychopath calling himself ‘The Joker’ or a decent man whose reputation and good name is destroyed by fabricated complaints of sexual abuse, are immeasurable,” Hurley wrote.
Hurley also said Bodenweiser is not the first person whose desire to pursue public service has put him in the spotlight. “Neither is Eric the first person who has suffered a unique disaster that, unfortunately, is now a part of modern-day life and that is reflected in the need of certain individuals who crave the notoriety that only media attention can bring. (Ask Elmo!)” Hurley wrote.
In the statement, Hurley says Bodenweiser will be completely vindicated when his day in court arrives.
Bodenweiser is scheduled to appear at Sussex County Superior Courthouse in Georgetown for a case review Monday, Dec. 3.
To read Hurley's statement, see the link below.
Elmo under fire
The puppeteer who played Elmo on Sesame Street for nearly 30 years resigned from the show Nov. 20 amid allegations he preyed on teenage boys.
Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo, was accused of having sex with now 23-year-old Sheldon Stevens when Stevens was only 16. Clash denied the accusation, and Stevens recanted the charge one day after coming forward.
A second accuser, Cecil Singleton, claims he met Clash on a gay chat line in 2003, when Singleton was 15. Singleton filed a $5 million lawsuit against Clash Nov. 20, after which, Sesame Workshop officials say they accepted Clash’s resignation.