Note: This article contains graphic content.
Disgraced Ohio state Rep. Wes Goodman — a Republican — in the wake of the lawmaker's recently revealed sex scandal and resignation is being accused by dozens of people of sexual misconduct. IJR has obtained testimonies from over 30 individuals who have had inappropriate and never-before-shared experiences with Goodman.
Goodman, who always campaigned on “family values,” recently made headlines for all the wrong reasons — he was caught on Tuesday having consensual sex with another man in his office.
Ohio State Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) was quickly notified and, in turn, asked Goodman to resign from his position — which he did. But many people have long been aware of Goodman's inappropriate sexual behavior; behavior that is very different than his married “family man” persona, IJR has learned.
Goodman has a reputation of reaching out to those involved in politics via Facebook Messenger — but things tend to quickly turn south, as he has been known to flirt with men, solicit sex, and even send pictures of his genitals, according to dozens of sources. The majority of the people he targets are between the ages of 18 and 24 and have had very little interaction with him personally.
In many instances of his alleged sexual misconduct, Goodman apparently offered to be a “mentor” for those looking to get into politics. Because of the power he had, his victims say they were afraid to report instances of abuse for fear of damaging their own political careers.
IJR interviewed over 30 people who experienced Goodman's inappropriate behavior, and their stories almost all start the same way. Goodman began his inquiries with college students as if he wanted to be a friend, asking what they wanted for their careers.
The victims were almost always political activists who simply had mutual friends with Goodman. He would then escalate the conversation, often sending several messages a day. Eventually, the conversation would move past small talk, and Goodman would start sending suggestive messages.
One source, who like the others chooses to remain anonymous, recalled the messages he received from Goodman (emphasis added):
"I'm a straight, heterosexual male. As you probably very well know, many people send and receive friend requests from various people in the conservative movement, I remember having received a friend request from Wes Goodman and having over 150 mutual friends. In the fall of 2016, he started messaging me and talked about various political things such as our political career goals and about the different conservative movement organizations.
A couple weeks later, he asked for my Snapchat. I wasn't aware of his background in gay circles, and I'm straight myself. I thought it would be a great way to build a professional relationship with an upcoming conservative lawmaker and seemingly solid guy. However, he constantly sent me Snaps and was always commenting on my stories. He also asked how much 'p***y' I was getting and wondering what I was doing on Friday and Saturday nights. I started to think something was a little weird.
He also asked if I would be coming up to D.C. in January for March for Life. He also repeatedly invited me up to Ohio so I could job shadow him and tour the Ohio Capital. Then in November 2016, one night, he started a conversation about how his wife was asleep and he was bored. I didn't reply for about 30 min after opening the Snapchat. Then, he sent me videos of him masturbating as well as d**k pics. He also sent another Snapchat asking how big my penis was. I immediately blocked him. He later [messaged] me on both Instagram and Facebook leading me to block him on both apps as well."
One person provided screenshots of several messages Goodman sent at the beginning of the relationship:
Another source told us that he was 17 years old, lived on the other side of the country, and had never met the state representative. Goodman, though, added him on Facebook and messaged him:
Goodman constantly pursued students with suggestive messages even after they stopped responding. If they played along in the slightest way, he would move the relationship to the next level: Snapchat.
Goodman became well-known for adding his “friends” on Snapchat so that messages would automatically disappear and he would be notified if anyone screenshotted them:
However, Goodman used his full name on Snapchat and seemingly didn't understand that one could simply take a picture of the screen with another device to save the messages.
The following Snapchat messages were obtained by IJR:
One person even managed to get a picture of a nude photo Goodman sent of his penis:
The sources informed IJR that many more photos of extremely explicit behavior — including Goodman in his underwear drinking beer, him showing his legs, and pictures of his penis — exist. Goodman always sent these on Snapchat to avoid the photos being saved, which is likely part of the reason why it has taken so long for his behavior to be exposed.
The source who received pictures of his legs and him drinking beer in his underwear told IJR that he thought about tweeting about the incident to call him out “for being a perverted weirdo” but decided not to. He ultimately described Goodman as “a major creep.”
Another source told IJR that Goodman would frequently text him at late hours of the night saying “that his wife was out of town or asleep.”
A business owner in the political arena reached out and informed IJR that Goodman had gone after 50 percent of his staff and that they had not come forward with any evidence until they became one of IJR's sources.
One source said:
“Goodman asked me personal questions such as if I have a girlfriend or I was single and 'how big I was down there.' He also asked if I was the big or small spoon and the catcher or the pitcher. He would snap me late at night around 2 and 3 a.m. saying his wife was sleeping and he was bored and lonely.”
Another source stated:
“One Snapchat he used was **************. The only Facebook I know of was his actual account. Lots of unseemly talk about size and his wife being asleep. I've heard he did this while still in D.C. but it seemed to escalate when he came back to Ohio. I know the Washington Post report about what happened at CNP in D.C. is true.”
The Early Years Co-Worker
One source reached out to IJR and told us that he never experienced any “sexual things” but that Goodman “definitely abused his power.”
He claims that Goodman “badmouthed” him to his boss nonstop and that he would fabricate stories about him solely because he was a Democrat. He also told us that Goodman frequently told a fraternity joke where he would ask, “What's the hardest part about being an SAE?” and then would deliver the punchline: “Telling your father you're gay.”
The source went on:
"He was homophobic, but at that time George W. Bush won Ohio and concordantly the entire election on opposing gay marriage, so it was not particularly uncommon.
I will say this — he was known to have some pretty transparent masculinity issues. Like he didn't have a lot of awareness. For example, he questioned my masculinity as I was in the process of enlisting in the military because I wasn't a Buckeyes fan. Obviously, towel-snapping sort of jokes are fine, but there was always something off about him, the way he dealt with sports, the way he interacted with his girlfriend."
Another source, who is very familiar with Ohio politics and the arena Goodman operated in, told IJR: “For what it is worth, people who were close to him were surprised by everything this week. He tried — very imprudently and unsuccessfully — to keep this under the radar.”
The Alleged Assault
The Washington Post obtained emails and documents that have never been made public detailing claims that Goodman groped an 18-year-old college student. This story is far different from the episode that led to Goodman's resignation, as this event was not consensual in any way.
It begins at a 2015 fundraiser near Washington, D.C., where then-candidate Goodman allegedly urged a group of young people to head to a party on Capitol Hill. When one young man said he didn't want to go, Goodman said that he “had a vagina.”
The 18-year-old explained that after they returned to the hotel that evening, “Wes pushed me to come to his room” and even offered the college student the other side of his bed. The student ended up accepting the offer.
While the student was sleeping, the parents of the victim said Goodman “unzipped his pants and fondled him in the middle of the night.” He then woke from his sleep, ran out of the room, and immediately told his parents, who demanded action be taken against Goodman by the organization hosting the conference.
Tony Perkins, the president of the council for National Policy, addressed the incident, saying, “Trust me ... this will not be ignored nor swept aside” and that "it will be dealt with swiftly, but with prudence.”
Perkins requested Goodman drop out of the campaign, but he continued and ended up beating out two other Republicans in the election. He took office in November.
None of these details became public until recently, when the documents were obtained.
The Fraternity Stories
Goodman frequently brought up his college fraternity in conversations with those he was targeting.
One screenshot that has floated around the political community in Ohio shows Goodman bragging that getting his “d**k sucked isn't that hard” because he has “a couple of bi frat bros.”
The Room Number
During a Turning Point USA conference where Goodman was speaking, a group of student activists was in the hotel bar with Goodman engaging in conversation when he left because he was “tired.”
However, Goodman forgot to close out his tab and left it for the students. One student — a man — then texted him asking for his room number, and Goodman quickly responded with the number and added a “winky face” emoji. Then the unnamed person stated that he had charged the bill to his room.
Goodman responded by saying that he had thought that he would be coming up to his room for a visit so that he could have sex with him.
The student ignored the text and carried on with the night.
According to more than half of our sources, Goodman would also frequently message them in the middle of the night on Facebook or Snapchat and tell them that his wife was sleeping and that he was “horny.” This would quickly lead to “sexting” during which Goodman would talk about his penis size and ask the person he was talking to what they were doing at that exact moment.
Things would progress from there, oftentimes leading to unwanted pictures and videos being sent by Goodman, even if the person did not respond to him.
One source said he met Goodman through mutual friends at Ohio State who worked close to him and told us that Goodman would reach out to him about “coming over” and “helping him out,” but the conversation would quickly turn sexual.
Goodman would tell him that he needed help “alpha to alpha” and that “it wouldn't be gay if it's just two alphas.” The source also received several inappropriate pictures and would awkwardly be asked about his penis size and other intimate details “in ways that weren't appropriate in general.”
He described Goodman as “a pretty odd man.”
One theme that was common throughout our sources was that Goodman's signature move was inviting college students to the hot tub. One source told IJR:
“Wes took me to dinner and invited me, as a 22-year-old just out of college working my first job in D.C., into the hot tub at the University Club — he insisted we be naked since there were 'no girls allowed' there. I did not agree to this.”
This proved a recurrent theme with Goodman — skinny dipping with activists alone in the hot tub accompanied by alcohol.
Some Pushed Back Against His Advances
Not everyone played along with Goodman and ignored his behavior, however. One source confronted Goodman over him coming on to him in a text message:
The source told IJR that Goodman still didn't catch on and invited him out for drinks just months later. He warned him that he was “playing a shell game” and that he had to “be careful,” but Goodman still didn't catch on:
While IJR interviewed over 30 sources for this piece, there are many more who choose to remain silent out of fear. One source who was very familiar with the political climate where Goodman worked stated:
“I could give you stories of at least a dozen more young men who have brought stories about Wes Goodman to me, but they don’t want their identities revealed. Their messages with him that they given me screenshots of would reveal their identities, so I can't share them. But he used his own Facebook account — with a pic of him and his wife next to his name — to regularly contact them. Please don't hold back in your story about him.”
Goodman's inappropriate behavior managed to go unreported for a surprisingly long time. It shows that sexual harassment is not a problem only women are currently facing and can impact people of all genders and backgrounds.
IJR reached out to Goodman for comment, but he had not responded at the time of publication.
Full disclosure: The author of this article was previously sent unsolicited, sexually explicit messages by Wes Goodman and eventually blocked him. This story has been edited since publication.