Laurie Snell, the estranged wife of Pennsylvania Senate candidate Sean Parnell, testified during a court hearing on Monday alleging that her husband strangled her, abused their children and told her to “go get an abortion” during the course of their marriage, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Parnell denies the allegations.
Her testimony, which alleged both verbal and physical abuse against her husband, took place during a hearing in Butler, Pennsylvania in child custody proceedings over their three children in their divorce case. She had previously sought temporary protective orders against Parnell in 2017 and 2018, though both were later expunged.
Former president Donald Trump endorsed Sean Parnell in September for his run in the Republican primary. Parnell is vying for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat in 2022 in what’s shaping up to be one of the most hotly contested Senate races next year.
“He tried to choke me out on a couch and I literally had to bite him,” to escape him, she said at the hearing. “He was strangling me.” In another incident, she claimed Parnell slapped one of their children so hard that it left visible fingerprint-shaped welts. She also testified that he was verbally abusive. In another incident, she alleged he forced her out of their vehicle and told her to “go get an abortion.”
On Parnell’s campaign website, he states, “I am pro-life, and will always vote to protect the unborn.”
In a statement issued by his campaign in response to Snell’s testimony, Parnell denied the allegations and said he would “present the truth to the court” next week.
“Let me emphatically state: I have never raised a hand in anger towards my wife or any of our three children,” the statement said. “What happened today in court was not justice, nor did it have any basis in fact or truth.”
Parnell is one of several GOP candidates looking to replace incumbent Republican Senator Pat Toomey who is not seeking reelection in 2022.