Wife Of GOP Senate Candidate Alleges That He Choked Her, Beat Children

(Photo Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
Font Size:

The estranged wife of Republican Pennsylvania Senate candidate Sean Parnell testified Monday during divorce court proceedings that he choked her and beat their children.

“He tried to choke me out on a couch and I literally had to bite him” to escape, Laurie Snell, who is seeking primary custody of the couple’s three children, testified. The comments were first reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Parnell, a retired Army captain and Fox News contributor, is running for the Senate seat vacated by retiring Republican Pat Toomey. He ran in 2020 against Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb for Lamb’s suburban Pittsburgh seat, a race Parnell lost by two points.  Parnell was endorsed by former President Donald Trump for both the 2020 House race and the 2022 Senate race. (RELATED: Jake Tapper Reportedly Encouraged Sean Parnell To Run In ‘Safer’ District Rather Than Challenge Democrat Conor Lamb)

The domestic violence allegations against Parnell were first reported in September, when primary opponent and former lieutenant governor nominee Jeff Bartos revealed that Parnell’s wife sought and took out protection orders against him in 2017 and 2018. The orders were later rescinded and expunged.

Parnell and Snell married in 2010. However, she testified Monday that Parnell’s abuse began before they were married. In 2008, Snell said, Parnell forced her to stand outside their car on a highway and told her to “go get an abortion.”

Parnell allegedly dissuaded Snell from reporting the abuse, claiming that doing so would “ruin his image” and prevent him from appearing on television. Parnell’s media appearances were the family’s sole source of income, Snell testified.

“The minute he walked back into the house we were petrified,” she said.

During another incident, Parnell punched a closet door into one child’s face, Snell alleged. Parnell then told the child that the incident “was your fault.”

Former Rep. Ryan Costello, who is considering entering the Republican primary, blasted Parnell as a “disaster of a candidate” following the testimony.

“It’s clear he’d lose to a golden retriever by double digits,” Costello tweeted. “He should write books & play hero on Fox & gtfo out of the race.”

Parnell denied the allegations in a Facebook post.

“In court the mother of my children made a number of false allegations against me. Those allegations are lies. There is no truth to them, not one. They are complete fabrications; not distortions or misrepresentations—just flat-out lies. The truth is I love my family and I love my children more than anything,” he wrote. “I will make my case next week in court and have every confidence that the truth will prevail but I must respect the court—and the time to make my case is in court.”