When you’re an FOB (Friend of Bill), you never know what communicable disease you might pick up. In the case of Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, it appears he caught a case of the “touchy feelies”.
Saturday’s Albuquerque Journal newspaper ran a story which included an allegation that the governor touched Lt. Gov. Diane Denish inappropriately.
The article, headlined “Hands-On Governor,” quotes Denish describing Richardson touching her at public events. It also notes how the governor has greeted people with bear hugs or head butts — or in the case of a DeVargas Middle School student in 2003, a headlock. For his part, Richardson said he’s just being playful. “I tease Diane. I touch guys. It’s my way of lessening tension,” Richardson said in the story.
Did he say he touches guys?
Denish told the Journal:
“He pokes me,” Denish said when confronted about photos taken of Richardson and her at an appearance in Bernalillo in late October. “He pinches my neck. He touches my hip, my thigh, sort of the side of my leg. I try not to put myself in that situation, trying not to stand or sit next to him.”
Sounds like sexual abuse to me. And it doesn’t appear that Denish has an axe to grind.
Dealing with Richardson’s touching and poking “is one of the challenges of this governor,” Denish told The Journal . “He has a lot of good qualities and this is one of the challenges.”
The article said, “When he’s doing it in these public environments, I have chosen not to embarrass him by not doing anything blatant about it publicly … I don’t think I should embarrass him.”
She used words like “joking” and “joshing” in the article. But, according to the article, she spoke about the problem with Billy Sparks, Richardson’s deputy chief of staff about the matter.
This deserves more attention, and probably a full-on investigation. If there’s one accuser, there’s often more.