Republican state Rep. Robert Goforth has been charged with felony strangulation, assault and terroristic threatening following a domestic violence incident early Tuesday morning.
Goforth was booked in the Laurel County jail shortly after 4:00 a.m. Tuesday. He was arrested in East Bernstadt, his hometown.
According to Laurel County Sheriff’s Office, Goforth was arrested at 3:10 am Tuesday after a woman alleged he had assaulted her at home, where there were three small children present. According to police, the children were not physically harmed.
The alleged victim said that Goforth threatened to kill her, according to police. Police reported she had visible marks on her forehead, neck and arms and bruising on her leg.
Kentucky did not have a felony strangulation crime until 2019 when the legislature created it. Goforth voted in favor of the legislation.
Goforth is the second state representative from Laurel County to be arrested over the last week. Republican Rep. Derek Lewis was arrested on a drunk driving charge in London early in the morning of April 16, hours after lawmakers wrapped up this year’s legislative session.
Goforth was first elected to represent the 89th district during a special election in 2018. He won the seat during the regular election later in the year.
Goforth also unsuccessfully challenged then-Gov. Matt Bevin during the 2019 Republican primary election for governor, taking 39 percent of the vote.
The Kentucky Democratic Party called on Goforth to resign immediately.
“This is not the first time a victim of Mr. Goforth’s violent assaults has come forward. Republican Leadership has ignored this for far too long, it is time for them to take action. Goforth needs to go,” KDP spokesperson Marisa McNee wrote in a statement.
Last year a woman accused Goforth of assaulting her in late 2008 and early 2009, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. Goforth denied the accusations.
Republican House Speaker David Osborne issued the following statement Tuesday morning about the charges against Goforth.
“Like everyone else, we have just been made aware of these charges and do not know the facts related to this case. While we reserve comment on this specific situation, the House Majority Caucus unequivocally denounces any form of domestic violence and has zero tolerance for it or its perpetrators. A society that values human life must also condemn domestic abuse. We each have a moral obligation to not only speak out against domestic violence, but also to recognize that domestic abuse knows no boundaries. Its victims and perpetrators come from every income, race, or socioeconomic status,” Osborne wrote.
This story has been updated.