|Eric Harpel denies stalking Rep. Mary Franson|
McLeod County Republican Party chairman Eric Harpel plans to contest Rep. Mary Franson's restraining order
The embattled party chairman acknowledged his breakup with Franson in a statement released today, saying "emotions have been running high." Harpel said he was "surprised and disheartened" by Franson's restraining order last month.
"I adamantly deny the allegations contained in the affidavit submitted by Ms. Franson. It is an unfortunate reality that restraining orders, although a beneficial part of our legal system, can also, at times, be abused by a party," Harpel said. "I maintain that the affidavit filed by Ms. Franson, much like too many other affidavits filed in these types of cases, is filled with mistruths and half-truths."
Over the phone, Harpel said he doesn't want any contact with Franson but plans to contest the restraining order to defend his name.
"I'm going there to defend my honor and my reputation," Harpel said. "There's no way anybody should be able to say anything they want and then have people like you smear it all over the goddang place and make me look even worse than what I really am."
Harpel declined to discuss Franson's specific allegations, detailed in a petition for a restraining order
filed May 10, but briefly touched on her claim that he demanded a pair of panties before he would return her possessions.
|Rep. Mary Franson accused Eric Harpel of stalking|
"I will just say that's absurd," Harpel said. "That's absolutely ridiculously absurd."
That incident never happened, Harpel said.
"She has taken a word that I used and is twisting it around and making it sound like I'm a sick pervert," Harpel claimed. "There is a whole story behind that whole conversation. She's just taking bits and pieces of it and twisting it all around to make me look like I'm somebody I'm not."
But he declined to elaborate, saying he'll explain himself in court.
Under Minnesota law, Harpel has 45 days to contest the restraining order filed by Franson May 10. Read his full statement on the next page.