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Teen sex, rape comment becomes issue in state Assembly race

by
75th Assembly District Representative Roger Rivard (R-Rice Lake)
75th Assembly District Representative Roger Rivard (R-Rice Lake)

RICE LAKE, WI (WTAQ) - A remark made last December about teenage sex and rape has become an issue in a state Assembly campaign.

GOP Representative Roger Rivard of Rice Lake was commenting on a high school rape case when he said his father warned him that, “some girls rape easy” – meaning that women can agree to sex, and then claim later that it was not consensual.

The remark has come back to haunt Rivard, as he faces a tight battle to win his second term next month against Democrat Stephen Smith.

Rivard told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Wednesday that the Chetek newspaper did not give the full context of what he said last December. He meant that his father advised him not to have pre-marital sex – and he took the advice seriously.

A few hours later, Rivard issued a statement clarifying his remark even further. He said sexual assault is a crime that is “unfortunately misunderstood,” and often goes unreported to police – and he called it a horrible act of violence that he takes very seriously.

Rivard’s election opponent said he learned about the incumbent’s remarks last August, after Missouri Congressman Todd Akin drew controversy for saying that women’s bodies can prevent pregnancy in cases of, “legitimate rape.”

Smith said Rivard’s comments are offensive, and his views are out of touch and, “extreme.”

Pennie Meyers of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault says people need to be better educated about sexual violence. She calls it an under-reported and under-prosecuted crime. 

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