'We are safer': GOP lawmaker wins protection from colleague

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WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania lawmaker who alleges a fellow lawmaker pulled a gun on her and threatened to kill her was granted a three-year protective order against him on Thursday.

"We are safer today," state Rep. Tarah Toohil declared.

Toohil alleges fellow Republican Rep. Nick Miccarelli was physically abusive during a relationship that ended in 2012 and has been physically intimidating her at the Capitol this year. Miccarelli has not been charged and vehemently denies her allegations. He announced plans to run for re-election shortly after a judge granted the protection order.

Toohil last week obtained a temporary protection-from-abuse order that had barred Miccarelli from setting foot in the Capitol in Harrisburg while she was there.

He'll be able to return to work at the Capitol under an agreement that extends Toohil's temporary order to three years but does not require him to admit wrongdoing.

Miccarelli, a 35-year-old Iraq War veteran from Delaware County, declared victory.

"I've had little to no contact with her for a long time, and you know what? If that's what settles this matter, that I have no contact with her as I've had none for a long period of time, I'm OK with it," Miccarelli said at the Luzerne County Courthouse.

Toohil said she's satisfied with the terms of the extended agreement, which also forbids Miccarelli from possessing a firearm except during the performance of his National Guard duties.

"We are very pleased with the outcome and got everything that we were coming here to do, and we are safer today," Toohil said. "And that's what we were trying to do, is secure our safety. My safety."

A second accuser, a political consultant, claims that after she ended their relationship in 2014, Miccarelli went to her house and forced her to have sex. He has denied her claim.

Both women have been interviewed by the Dauphin County district attorney's office and by House GOP investigators, who completed their probe and turned the results over to prosecutors on Wednesday.

House Republicans have not released their report to the public, but Toohil's lawyer, Jarrett J. Ferentino, said Thursday it "found Ms. Toohil to be credible."

Ferentino added: "She's absolutely still fearful of him."

Miccarelli has resisted calls from House Republican leaders, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and others to resign, previously calling his accusers former girlfriends with whom he had "consensual sexual relations" before his recent marriage.

"The constituents of my district, they know me. The outpouring of support from them has been unbelievable. They want me to continue serving as their representative," he said. "I plan to stand for re-election, and we're going to leave this to the voters."

In a petition filed with the court last week, Toohil, 38, of Luzerne County, wrote that Miccarelli pointed a gun at her, threatened to kill her and hit, pinched and kicked her during their relationship in 2011 and 2012. She also alleged Miccarelli has physically intimidated her in the Capitol this year by walking past her office, standing by her desk on the floor of the House and stalking and staring at her. Miccarelli carried a gun in the House, she added.

One of Miccarelli's lawyers, Joel Frank, is general counsel of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, though he represented Miccarelli in his capacity as a private lawyer. Miccarelli spokesman Frank Keel said the lawmaker paid his own legal bills.

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