In January of 2012, just days after atheist Jessica Ahlquist won her lawsuit to take down a religious mural from Cranston High School West, Rhode Island State Rep Peter Palumbo, above, went on the John DePetro radio show and called Jessica, inset, an ‘evil little thing’, quickly adding that even if she wasn’t evil, she was being ‘coerced’ into fighting her lawsuit by evil people.
Palumbo, who is no longer an elected official – he was ousted as a lawmaker in 2014 – was arrested on Thursday morning by Rhode Island State Police and arraigned in District Court on charges of embezzlement and filing a false document with a public official.
He appeared in court to face charges related to campaign finance discrepancies. Specifically, a Rhode Island Board of Elections audit revealed that Palumbo did not accurately report $59,975 in cash withdrawals from his campaign funds.
Investigators dug in further, finding withdrawals of $16,498 from ATMs at seven different casinos around the country over five years.
Court records show the former representative allegedly withdrew the money from the “Friends of Peter Palumbo” account at ATMs located at Twin River, Newport Grand, Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun, Saratoga Horse Racing, Casino Arizona and Seminole Hard Rock Casino from 2010 to 2014.
Palumbo had “no comment” when leaving the courthouse on $5,000 personal recognisance.
Although no longer in office, Palumbo was still required to maintain accurate records. An affidavit said he provided a false document to the board of elections in December of 2014 by listing his campaign account balance as $13,134, when it was actually $263.
Palumbo is no stranger to law enforcement. He is also in the middle of a state Ethics Commission investigation.
Commented Friendly Atheist Hermant Mehta:
Just to reiterate, an elected government official was name-calling a teenager because she was defending the Constitution. That’s how messed up it was.
Palumbo got caught up in the middle of a contract scandal a couple of years later, in 2014, and it may have been the main reason he lost his seat in the State House that November after 19 years in office.
Well, well, well … who’s the evil little thing now?
Meanwhile, Alquist can be proud of the work she has done since in the name of secularism. According to Wiki:
• On October 8, 2011, the Freedom From Religion Foundation awarded her the 2011 Thomas Jefferson Youth Activist.
• On June 9, 2012, the American Humanist Association honored Jessica with the 2012 Humanist Pioneer Award, which was presented to her at the 71st annual American Humanist Association conference in New Orleans.
• On August 19, 2012, Jessica was given the Judge George Alexander Teitz Award, for “commitment to the ideals of religious and ethnic tolerance and freedom” by the Touro Synagogue Foundation in Newport, Rhode Island.
• On May 22, 2013, Jessica was honored with the Hugh M Hefner First Amendment Award in the Education category.