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A 19-year-old who admitted to blackmailing a girl for nude photographs and viciously bullying girls in middle school won a Democratic primary for a seat in the Kansas state House of Representatives. One of the women even says the candidate drove her to attempt suicide.
Aaron Coleman, a community college student and dishwasher, defeated the incumbent Stan Frownfelter by just 14 votes on Monday. Although Frownfelter pledged to run as a write-in candidate on Tuesday — and has the support of Democratic leadership in the state — no Republican has filed to run in the district.
The young woman who says she attempted suicide after Coleman’s abuse told the Kansas City Star that he started bullying her in the sixth grade. Coleman was “calling me fat, telling me to kill myself, like I’m never going to find anyone, like I’m worthless, just downgrading me every day.” She recalled him, in one message, calling her a “whale” and urging her to go on a diet and get braces.
In social media posts seen by the Star, another woman said that Coleman “harassed me for months,” including relentlessly calling her family’s home phone.
Another woman told the Star that Coleman blackmailed her for nude photos five years ago.
“He got one of my nudes and blackmailed me with it and told me if I didn’t send him more, he would [send] it to all of my friends and family,” the woman wrote on social media, in accusations she also repeated to the Star.
“And when I didn’t send him more, he sent it to everyone I knew. I don’t know how he got the picture. All I know is he’s an awful person and he should not be allowed to run for anything.”
When the Associated Press asked Coleman about the details of that last allegation, he admitted, “They’re accurate.” In a June post on Facebook, seen by the Star, Coleman also said that the accusations against him — which he described as “bullying, revenge porn, and blackmail” — were true.
“I just want to make clear all these allegations are both true and occurred only digitally,” he wrote. “I denounce these actions and they are the actions of a sick and troubled 14-yo boy.”
When Frownfelter came out in support of the women who’d accused Coleman, Coleman threatened to attack Frownfelter with allegations of his own, Frownfelter told the Star. Coleman never made good on his threat.
“I had, to that point, run an issue-focused campaign and was simply making clear that if Mr. Frownfelter’s campaign was going to run personal attacks then his conduct as a legislator would also be fair game,” Coleman told the Star. Coleman’s platform supported a single-payer healthcare system and legalizing marijuana.
In a statement to the Kansas City Star, Coleman also said that he was sorry about his past actions.
“I made serious mistakes in middle school and I deeply regret and apologize for them. I’ve grown up a great deal since then,” he said.
“I’ve moved on,” Coleman also recently wrote a relative of the woman who’d attempted suicide, according to the Kansas City Star. “They call the past the past for a reason, because that’s where you are supposed to leave things. At this point you shouldn’t move on for me, you should move on for yourself.”
During the campaign, Coleman told a former Kansas Republican lawmaker in a social media post that Coleman would “laugh and giggle when you get COVID and die.”
“Ask your buddy Herman Cain how it worked out for him,” he added.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741, or visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org for more information.
Cover: Facebook/Aaron Coleman For Kansas