The great thing about being a Congressman’s son is that you can commit assault with basically no consequences, thanks to the power of your father. It must be a pretty sweet advantage when you beat up your girlfriend, which is exactly what Patrick Moran, son of Virginia Representative Jim Moran, just pled guilty to in court today. Despite the fact that he was originally charged with felony assault, he walked with a simple assault conviction and 90 days probation.
Life is good for the son of a powerful white guy, eh?
IT’S NOT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE WHEN YOU’RE A CONGRESSMAN’S SON
Reporting on the incident, the “Washington City Paper” says that Moran and his girlfriend were fighting outside a bar on 1 December when he “allegedly slammed his girlfriend’s head into the bar’s metal trash can cage.” As one does when arguing with one’s girlfriend, you know. No biggie. Intriguingly, an anonymous source (oh, the anonymous source! Trustworthy source of information the world over!) claims that “Patrick and his girlfriend explained the incident as an 'accident' involving two young people who were 'over-served' at a D.C. Bar.”
Over-served. Indeed. It's all the bartender's fault. Which is why she left the scene in an ambulance bleeding from the head, with significant swelling in her nose and right eye. While ambulance technicians don’t have the greatest diagnostic tools on board, one claimed there was evidence of a broken nose and a possible skull fracture, according to the “Washington City Paper.”
The same hallowed anonymous source above says she is back at work and testified in his defense today -- as though this is evidence that nothing all that bad happened. Right, because victims of domestic violence never feel pressured into protecting their attackers, especially when their attackers are powerful men who are probably going to get away with it anyway. And they never, ever decide not to press charges because they’re afraid of being punished.
WELL, THIS IS AWKWARD
Moran’s father, naturally, is rushing to his defense; he claims that Moran and his girlfriend are “good kids,” as though this somehow negates the fact that his son slammed his girlfriend’s head into a metal trash can cage. Curious indeed that Moran Sr. thinks we need to be reassured that the girlfriend is a “good kid,” given that she was the victim of his son’s act of violence.
More tellingly, Rep. Moran called this an “embarrassing situation.” Embarrassing for whom, exactly? Having your pants fall down during a public appearance is embarrassing. Accidentally walking into the wrong room at a hotel and seeing someone going at it is embarrassing. Totally flubbing your lines on stage on opening night is embarrassing. Being a victim -- or a perpetrator -- of domestic violence is not embarrassing. It’s awful.
Rep. Moran clearly wants to shuffle this under the carpet because his son's misdeeds reflect poorly on him; notably, this is not the first time Patrick has been in the news for doing something pretty shitty. He popped up in October talking about how to commit voter fraud while working for his father’s campaign. After a highly public outing, his father was forced to relieve him of his duties.
With this domestic violence incident coming barely a month after that, it’s pretty clear that Patrick Moran is among the fleet of young white Washington privileged who think they can do whatever they want because of who they are, without consequences. And the court pretty much reinforced that message by allowing him to plea down (we wouldn’t want a “good kid” to be saddled with a felony conviction) and serve probation; he’ll be doing community service and attending a domestic violence intervention program.
I don’t have high hopes that he’ll actually learn anything from that program, because he already learned everything he needed to from his brush with the legal system. Do what you want, when you want, where you want, because no one’s coming for you if you’re a Congressman’s son. Your actions will be the talk of Washington for a few days and then they’ll become part of your body of bad-boy notoriety.
WHERE IS THE ACCOUNTABILITY?
Domestic violence is a huge issue in the United States. I feel like I was just talking about this. Oh, wait, I was. Cases like this happen every day and every night, and it’s not just the sons of Congresspeople who escape accountability, but these high-profile cases make the issue especially glaring and obvious.
This plea deal and subsequent slap on the wrist (more like a gentle brushing of the wrist with a delicate swan feather) sent a clear message to victims of domestic violence: this is how much society cares about you. Rep. Moran’s statement was also crystal clear: domestic violence is something “embarrassing,” rather than a real, serious issue. His statement was also a reminder of the fact that domestic violence is often hidden out of shame; women cover it up and conceal it in an effort to pass, because they know that most people find thinking about the subject, well, embarrassing.
You know what I find embarrassing? The fact that jackasses like Rep. Moran serve in the US Congress.
Thanks to xoJane cult devotee Abigail for tipping us off to this story!