Democratic Virginia State Delegate Joe Morrissey “is on a leash,” Henrico County Sheriff Michael Wade told CBS 6 in a Tuesday report on the jailed politician’s work release arrangement. Morrissey, 57, was convicted last week of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and sentenced to 12 months in jail with six months suspended for “an inappropriate relationship” with a 17-year-old administrative staffer in his legal office who is now reportedly pregnant.
“Prosecutors had accused him of having sex with the receptionist who worked at his law firm and of possessing child pornography — allegedly a photo of the teenager,” the Washington Post noted in a Saturday report about members of both parties urging the disgraced delegate to resign. While Morrissey has maintained he never had a sexual relationship with the girl, and that he is the victim of a cell phone hacker who planted “incriminating text messages,” he nonetheless “entered an Alford plea to one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”
The politician’s apparent self-control issues have not escaped the notice of those Morrissey demands be controlled. Among concerns are past brushes with the law and reported ethical lapses.
“His litany of transgressions includes a courthouse fistfight, fraud, and berating and threatening judges,” an earlier Washington Post report recalled. “Legal panels have described him as unethical, unprofessional and deceitful. His law license has been suspended and revoked, and he has been banned from practicing as an attorney.”
So when Morrissey attacked the right to keep and bear arms in 2013 by bringing an AK-style rifle onto the floor of the House of Delegates “in a wild stunt aimed at rallying support for tougher gun laws,” many reacted negatively. Some, starting with Republican Delegate Todd Gilbert, noticed he was committing a cardinal gun safety violation by having his thumb inside the trigger guard. Assurances that “the gun was not loaded” notwithstanding, the late training icon and “Gunner’s Guru” Jeff Cooper’s four rules, considered by many to be the essentials of gun safety, begin with the assumption that “All guns are always loaded,” and include the warning “Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.”
Morrissey’s “lack of gun control made headlines when he lost an Uzi assault-style rifle and a high-capacity Tec-9 pistol,” CBS 6 reported at the time of that House incident, citing another incident from 20 years earlier. As with his latest troubles, Morrissey blamed the loss on theft, and maintained he only had the guns “to demonstrate to kids these guns cause mass carnage … Which doesn’t change my position at all on gun control.”
For now, the convicted Morrissey is vigorously denying wrongdoing and maintaining his innocence. Per the Richmond Times-Dispatch in a Saturday exclusive interview, he is “unrepentant” and “vow[ing] revenge,” pledging “to file a civil suit against those who he says conspired against him.”