GOP leaders call for Morris to resign

Published 8:05 pm Saturday, September 24, 2016

Republican leaders in the Virginia House of Delegates have called upon Delegate Rick Morris to resign his seat following abuse allegations.

“We are deeply concerned by the charges against Delegate Rick Morris,” reads the statement issued by House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell, Majority Leader M. Kirkland “Kirk” Cox, Caucus Chairman Timothy D. Hugo, Majority Whip Jackson H. Miller and Deputy Majority Leader C. Todd Gilbert.

“While we all believe that individuals are innocent until proven guilty and entitled to their day in court, these are serious and troubling allegations. Accordingly, we have asked Delegate Morris to resign his seat effective immediately. He needs this time to focus on his personal and family life and we pray for the comfort and healing of everyone involved in this situation.”

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Morris was charged last week with 14 counts of various crimes, including felony cruelty and injuries to children, felony child endangerment, misdemeanor domestic assault involving a minor, misdemeanor domestic assault involving an adult female family member and assault and battery of a family member.

Court documents detail the alleged abuse against his wife and an adolescent boy in the home, all of which occurred in the 300 block of Babbtown Road.

The child told police Morris struck him on the hands and arms with a leather belt and a wooden spoon and threw a hose nozzle at him while he was doing push-ups as punishment, according to the court documents. The boy also said Morris woke him up and punched him in the stomach because of something he had done to upset his mother, according to the court documents.

The incidents were spread out between January to as recently as last week.

Morris’ wife also reported incidents that included Morris pushing her into walls, furniture and the kitchen counter on various dates from last December to recently. She suffered several injuries, including one that required her ankle to be placed into a temporary cast, according to the court documents.

Morris represents the 64th District, which includes parts of Suffolk and Franklin as well as Southampton, Isle of Wight, Prince George, Surry and Sussex counties.

“We are reminded now of the importance of preserving the public’s trust and the expectations, obligations and duties that come with the privilege of serving in the House of Delegates,” continues the statement from the GOP leaders. “Legislators are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that is above reproach and consistent with the honor and dignity of this body. We take seriously our responsibility to preserve the integrity of this storied institution, and while we deeply regret having to do so we are compelled to ask for Delegate Morris’s resignation in order to protect the House of Delegates.”