I Don’t Understand Richmond, Va., Mayoral Candidate and Alleged Pervert Joe Morrissey

There’s a teen pregnancy, a jail stint, a potential disbarment and tons of lies, and yet Morrissey’s still here and set to become the next mayor of Richmond.

Myrna Pride, husband Joe Morrissey and their children Twitter

I don’t understand how Joe Morrissey is still here.

I don’t understand how, in 2013, a then-56-year-old Morrissey was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates when he hired a 17-year-old black girl to work in his law office. The old white man raped the teen and then lied about the nature of their “relationship.”

I don’t understand how no one called this rape even though Virginia law states that this is what happened.

I don’t understand how he was allowed to plead guilty to the delinquency of a minor. (Read all the disturbing text messages between the old man and the teen here.)

I don’t understand how no one knew she was pregnant at the time of Morrissey’s conviction.

I don’t understand how he only served three months in prison.

I don’t understand why he lied about being the father of the teen’s child, only to fess up later that he had impregnated her.

I don’t understand how he and the rape victim-turned-wife posed for this photo.

Joe Morrissey with his now wife, Myrna Pride and their son.
Joe Morrissey with his now-wife, Myrna Pride, and their sonTwitter

I don’t understand how this same man not only won his seat back after coming out of jail but is now slated to become the next mayor of Richmond while currently facing disbarment and new allegations that he showed a black female client his penis.

I’m going to need my brothers and sisters in this Southern city that is reportedly 50 percent black to explain this one to me because at this point it looks as if Richmond is on some slave s–t.

At best, Morrissey is a despicable human being. At. Best.

Currently, Morrissey, a lawyer by trade, is facing claims that he exposed himself to client Kanika Shani Morris, who was down on her luck and facing jail time after she failed to return a rental car. He reportedly showed Morris his penis and told her to grab it. She refused, so Morrissey, being the stand-up guy that he is, told her he would settle for nude photos. She never sent them. On Feb. 14 of this year, he told the woman to drop by his office and sent her this text, which he doesn’t deny sending and now claims was flirtatious: “Make sure you wear fresh panties and shave your [p–sy] nice n smooth.”

When the woman never sent photos or complied with any of Morrissey’s other requests, she claims, he gave her case to a different lawyer and allegedly told her to plea. The woman spent two weeks in jail.

Yet somehow the rapist has turned himself into the underdog. He even goes by the nickname “Fightin’ Joe.” Even more amazing is how quickly my people have fallen for it. There are several stories painting him as a down-home guy with roots in the city. Stories that are filled with quotes like, “He’s had his ups and downs, but people forgive him” and “He won’t give up. You can’t give up. Life is like that.”

Except, maybe Morrissey would’ve given up if people stopped voting for him and hugging him and taking photos with him. He’s loved in Richmond, but it’s unclear what’s to love about a guy who preyed on a teen. (The couple now has two babies.) I’m confused as to why people still believe that this man is deserving of not only a platform but also a stage from which he can speak for the people of Richmond.

On the one hand, the spin that he has put on his political career could make even Donald Trump proud. Here’s a man who has basically proved himself to be lower than the chewed gum on the misshapen sole of a run-over boot, and he’s also leading the race to become mayor.

Morrissey isn’t fighting against “the system” or “the man,” causes that we black folks can get behind; he’s living proof that the system continues to bend to whiteness. Morrissey’s fight, if he is truly fighting against anything, is against himself, and at this point I just wish he’d knock himself out. Maybe he’d become a shadowboxer if the people of Richmond could just stop rooting for him.

Not sure what Morrissey has on the residents of Richmond that makes him a viable candidate. At this point, his bio reads like that of an antebellum-South plantation owner, and I’m completely confused as to why Richmond folks have fallen for his act. He isn’t even endearing—he’s a predator of the worst kind—and someone Richmond should be ashamed of. Morrissey is running a close second to Trump for most deplorable candidate, and we all know that’s super hard to do.

Stephen A. Crockett Jr. is a senior editor at The Root. Follow him on Twitter.

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