A 25-year-old suspect is in custody on a sexual abuse charge after allegedly following and assaulting the former Arizona senator while she was running on Wednesday
A Nebraska man accused of groping former U.S. Sen. Martha McSally is now in custody, ending a two-day search for her alleged assailant.
Dominic Henton, 25, was apprehended by Omaha authorities early Friday morning and will be extradited to the neighboring town of Council Buffs, Iowa, to face one count of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.
In a video posted to Facebook on Wednesday afternoon, McSally, 57, revealed that she had just been sexually assaulted while running through River's Edge Park in Council Bluffs. She was passing through the area for a speaking engagement in Omaha.
Explaining the incident and acknowledging that she was "still in an adrenaline state," McSally said, "A man came up behind me and he engulfed me in a bear hug, and he molested and fondled me until I fought him off."
"I then chased him down," she continued. "I said a lot of swear words in this moment. I was in a fight, flight of freeze, and I chose to fight."
McSally added that she threw her water bottle at the man as he ran off, and called 911 while he hid in nearby brush. Authorities were unable to locate the suspect when they arrived at the scene.
By Thursday evening, the Council Bluffs Police Department had released surveillance photos of the suspect in the moments before and after the alleged assault, and announced that a warrant was out for Henton's arrest.
After authorities identified Henton as the suspect, McSally took to social media to address him directly, writing, "Dominic Henton, like I screamed at you yesterday (with profanity), you will not get away with this or try to harm and violate another woman. You picked the wrong target."
McSally — a Republican who represented Arizona in the Senate from 2019-2020 and spent four years in the House before that — has spoken publicly before about her history with sexual abuse.
“Unlike so many brave survivors, I didn’t report being sexually assaulted,” she said. “Like so many women and men, I didn’t trust the system at the time. I blamed myself. I was ashamed and confused. And I thought I was strong but felt powerless. The perpetrators abused their position of power in profound ways — and in one case I was preyed upon and then raped by a superior officer.”
McSally served in the Air Force from 1988 to 2010 and retired as a colonel, explaining during the hearing that it was only “later in my career, as the military grappled with [sexual abuse] scandals and their wholly inadequate responses,” that she “felt the need to let some people know I, too, was a survivor,” according to the Arizona Republic.
McSally had previously been candid about surviving sexual abuse in high school, telling the Wall Street Journal in 2018 that, as a teen, she was emotionally manipulated into sex by a running coach two decades her senior.
“These experiences don’t define me, but only deepened and strengthened my resolve to not be powerless, and dedicate my life to fight for others, especially girls, women and the vulnerable,” she said in a statement.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.
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