Jailed for relationship with 17-year-old, lawmaker wins reelection

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Jeremy Diamond

(CNN - Jan. 14, 2015) -- It's not every day that a politician with a county jail-issued ankle monitor accused of having sex with his 17-year-old secretary campaigns for reelection, and wins.

But that's exactly what happened Tuesday in the Richmond, Virginia suburb of Henrico County, where Joseph Morrissey snagged 42 percent of the vote to win reelection to the state's House of Delegates, all while serving out a six-month jail sentence, the Richmond-Times Dispatch reported. And he did it while running as an independent.

Morrissey, 57, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge last month to avoid a possible felony conviction after an alleged sexual relationship with his underage secretary caught the attention of her father, and soon enough, law enforcement. A nude photo of the young woman was found on Morrissey's cell phone, and she is now also pregnant, though the woman has not confirmed the identity of the baby's father.

Inside the Henrico County Regional Jail East, a reporter from WTVR informed Morrissey that he had won.

“How unlikely would it be that somebody in my circumstances…wins an election when all the people are against him and they go negative?  Maybe the message for the rest of the Commonwealth is, you can actually win a race by being positive,” Morrissey told the TV station.

The House of Delegates is now considering measures to censure or bar Morrissey from serving in the legislature.

Despite Morrissey's Democratic and Republican opponents' best efforts, voters were apparently unfazed by the allegations and Morrissey's jail sentence, most already aware of their representative's record.

Morrissey was able to campaign by day and spend his nights behind bars thank to the jail's work-release program, which allows inmates to spend 12 hours a day working out of jail and will also reduce Morrissey's six-month sentence to 90 days.

Source: CNN/WTVR

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