Mike Holcomb Accused of Sexually Assaulting High School Girl in 1987 (UPDATED)

Every now and then, something comes across my radar that demands a good deal of vetting before I am comfortable running it. At times, even after the vetting, I’m not entirely comfortable, not because I doubt the authenticity or accuracy, but because the subject matter is just bad.

This is one of those times.

Mike Holcomb (R-10) is an incumbent whose district includes parts of Jefferson, Lincoln, Cleveland, Grant, and Drew counties. His profile, and basically anything you can find about him as a legislator, note that he is a “retired educator.” Technically, this is true — Arkansas records show him with an educator’s license from at least 1999 to 2005. Prior to his time as a teacher, however, Mr. Holcomb worked in some non-teaching capacities, including time as a security guard at Watson Chapel High School in 1987.

I’ll let a parent of a Watson Chapel student at the time take it from here.

Download (PDF, 1.53MB)

Some noteworthy passages from that letter, in case you can’t see it on your current device:

It was 1987 and my daughter was a junior. Mike was an avid weight lifter and a big flirt. She enjoyed the attention Mike was giving her but it led to more than a hug here and there. She became a victim. Over several months Mike took advantage of my daughter’s innocents [sic] and sexually abused her. His sexual encounters lasted a couple of months before moving to his next victims.

Mike ran for State Representative and the talk continued to increase about his past at Watson Chapel High School. I was asked a number of times “Are you going to vote for Mike?” Followed by their comment, “I cannot believe anyone would vote for him after what he did to those girls.” All I could think about is “if you only knew that one of those girls was my daughter.” I am so ashamed that I had not reported Mike to the authorities. It may have saved other girls from what happened to my little girl.

If Mike’s activities were to take place today, he would be charged and sent to prison. He should not be allowed to represent the people of Jefferson County any longer.

As someone who has a daughter, my heart goes out to the author of this letter. I cannot imagine what I would do in that situation, and I pray that I never have to find out. I commend the author, however, for having the courage to come forward now.

Assuming this is all true — and I have no reason to doubt it — it presents a pretty terrible backstory for Mike Holcomb. A cynical person might even suggest that this is why Mike Holcomb did not vote for a bill that specifically sought to prevent school children from maltreatment and to hold educators accountable for inappropriate relationships with students. Or why he did not vote for a bill that would have made sex offenders report new addresses to local law enforcement, rather than to the ACIC.

But, ultimately, there is no need to be so cynical regarding his votes; what matters are his actions. An honest man would take one of two approaches at this point: he would either admit his wrongdoing, beg for forgiveness and drop out, OR he would sue the author of this post for libel. A dishonest man would deny, with or without accompanying bluster and outrage, and simply stay in the race and hope no one paid attention to his past.

So, I suppose, the only question now is which category Mr. Holcomb falls into.

UPDATE: Apparently, Drew Petrimoulx followed up on this story and sought comment from Mr. Holcomb. (I also sought comment from Mr. Holcomb, but got no response.) According to Drew:

Interesting. Of course, one had to expect that he would deny the allegations. But to decline to go on camera and defend himself? That seems curious. I mean, I can only speak for myself, but I know that, if someone made similar allegations against me and I knew the allegations were false, I would be shouting that from the rooftops and going on every station that would have me to refute the accusations. I would also be filing a libel suit immediately and doing whatever I could to clear my name, but your methods may vary on something like that.

One other thing worth mentioning (or, I suppose, rementioning) is what I wrote yesterday regarding how someone might respond to these allegations:

An honest man would take one of two approaches at this point: he would either admit his wrongdoing, beg for forgiveness and drop out, OR he would sue the author of this post for libel. A dishonest man would deny, with or without accompanying bluster and outrage, and simply stay in the race and hope no one paid attention to his past.

I’d say claiming the allegations are false and declining to even say that directly to a camera comes pretty close to that second option.

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20 comments for “Mike Holcomb Accused of Sexually Assaulting High School Girl in 1987 (UPDATED)

  1. Don Paul Bales
    August 31, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    As someone who also has a daughter, thank you Matt, for shining like on this dark, destructive pattern of abuse. How horrible.

  2. AJ Zolten
    August 31, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    As this is just being published today, I’d like to ask readers to wait and see if there’s a response from Holcomb before sharing this. Even if he denies it, he should be able to respond before the internet takes this story over. Brave parents to publish the letter, I hope that this public news doesn’t drag the victim back into the hell that is the reality for too many teens who were abused in this manner.

  3. Blue Hog Report
    August 31, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    I emailed Holcomb for a comment. No response.

  4. AJ Zolten
    August 31, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Matt, in 24 hours I’ll be sharing it.

  5. Blue Hog Report
    August 31, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    Fair enough. I think that’s a completely rational response. If he responds, I’ll update.

  6. Jay Fraser
    August 31, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    “Assuming this is all true” is a heavy statement. I don’t pretend to know him or anything about him, but one thing is clear. When accusations like these are levied, the innocence or guilt of the accused becomes irrelevant. It’s hard to unring a bell.

  7. Blue Hog Report
    August 31, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    I talked to multiple people about it. I wouldn’t have run it if I doubted it at all.

  8. Jay Fraser
    August 31, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    I’m not arguing, but I’m curious about the process. What would happen should he sue you for libel?

  9. Emily Reed
    August 31, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    I’m sure a number of people would come forward to say it’s not untrue.

  10. Blue Hog Report
    August 31, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Jay Fraser I’d have at least three people come forward to say it was true. He couldn’t prove malice anyway. And I’d get to take depositions of a bunch of people. It would be WAY worse for him if he went that route.

  11. David Hamilton
    September 1, 2016 at 9:13 am

    If guilty, this guy has no business representing anyone. A big part of being an adult is knowing right from wrong. Teenage years are tough enough, there is no need to make them worse by being a sexual predator.

  12. WCPB
    September 1, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    He pulled one of my friends into his lap and kissed her – at or around 1985.

  13. Beverly Wayman Kennedy
    September 2, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Why do people post stuff like this???? Really. Even if it’s true or not shouldn’t have been posted.

  14. Becks Cowling
    September 2, 2016 at 11:15 am

    I am grateful for you and your fearless investigative searching and writing.

  15. Alta Tharp
    September 2, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    He is a politician. We all should know.

  16. rogerd2001
    September 3, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    20 years ago I was talking to a friend from school (Watson Chapel) about a sexual abuse case of a young girl. She said that when we were in school she worked during her study hall for the “Campus Cop” in his office. She said that they had sex in the office during school. He would tell her that he was going to leave his wife and marry her. She always said that there was more girls out there.

  17. Monie Ballard Johnson
    September 4, 2016 at 9:28 am

    This is a true story.

  18. Wild88
    September 6, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    This a true story happened to more than one girl. Happened 1988 as well. He should be held accountable and punished accordingly. Never liked him and couldn’t stand being around him.

  19. Wild88
    September 6, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    This a true story happened to more than one girl. Happened 1988 as well. He should be held accountable and punished accordingly. Never liked him and couldn’t stand being around him. As a friend of one of his victims he is a sick man. Should never be allowed to be around any kids and most definitely not be allowed to run for any political office. As a parent if this was to happen to my children I would have to take actions in my own hands. Too many times in our society people like this fly under the radar and the victims suffer for the rest of their lives and never live a normal life. Hope more come forward and put him behind bars.

  20. clawso1
    September 6, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Why wouldn’t Times v Sullivan give you blanket cover? 
    The allegations are fresh and seem to vetted as well as can be expected for an ancient story. Given his position it would be negligent not to run.

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