A race for an open seat in Virginia's House of Delegates was turned on its head this week when one of the three candidates, "conservative independent" Linda Wall, admitted that she had a sexual relationship with an underage girl 40 years ago. Wall, 61, who considers herself a "cured" lesbian, is an activist who lobbies the state legislature for an anti-gay group, the Family Foundation. Here, a guide to the suddenly not-so-sleepy local race:
Why did Wall admit to the relationship?
She originally acknowledged it in a sworn 2006 deposition submitted when Republican Paul Jost sued his rival in a state Senate race and Wall for defamation. In that deposition, Wall admitted to "sexual relations with a minor" when she was a junior high school gym teacher in the early 1970s. Wall says she resigned when a school official approached her about the relationship. Jost released this part of the deposition this week, he said, "because it shows Linda Wall is not fit to hold public office."
Is Wall dropping out of the race?
No. She says that after converting to Christianity decades ago, quitting drugs, and changing her sexual orientation, she is a "different person" today. "I've never tried to hide that I was in homosexuality," Wall tells the Associated Press. "If anybody Googles me, they would find that out there." Walls says she was just a "heavy pot smoker" who "made some bad choices."
But didn't Wall break the law?
She apparently admitted to statuary rape. And she could probably still be prosecuted, if the alleged victim comes forward, says police Sgt. Michael Taber. "If it's a felony — especially on a sexual offense — there's not going to be an expiration on that."
Is anyone defending Wall?
They sure are. "The reaction to this woman's mistake has been despicable," says Jim Brogan at The Post Courier. It was wrong to have had sex with a 12- to 14-year-old girl, but Wall was a confused 21-year-old at the time, and in the 40 years since it happened she's "become a Christian, obviously repented heavily, and is no longer a lesbian." There's no need to slam her as "a child predator who needs psychiatric help." Umm, hold on there, says Jeanne Sager at The Stir. "You know what most people call someone who has sex with a kid? Child molester. Teachers who do that sort of thing today go to jail for years," and so should Wall. Instead, "she still expects people to vote for her?" Really, "it's amazing how stupid some politicians think voters are."