COLUMN

Aaron Coleman’s Ex-Girlfriend Says His Misogynist Abuse Didn’t Stop in Middle School

Taylor Passow tells GEN the Kansas congressional candidate attacked her in December

Photo: Aaron Coleman for Kansas

Aaron Coleman, the 19-year-old who exited and then quickly reentered a race for a Kansas statehouse seat amid revelations of misogynist abuse, has consistently emphasized that he committed those offenses when he was between the ages of 12 and 14, and has not repeated the behavior since.

“From the moment I won, I have endured sustained attacks,” Coleman, a progressive whose platform includes single-payer health care and legalizing cannabis, said in a statement Tuesday announcing his return to the race. The Kansas City Star reported that Coleman had engaged in revenge porn, blackmailing one 12-year-old girl and sharing naked pictures of her to friends and family; bullied another to the point that she attempted suicide; and harassed a third — allegations he admitted to. “I obviously did not expect to have my entire personal life, especially what I did in middle school, put under that kind of national microscope,” Coleman said in Tuesday’s statement.

Now an ex-girlfriend has called his narrative about distant childhood acts into question. Taylor Passow said that Coleman violently attacked her less than a year ago, choking and slapping her when she threatened to break up with him in December. Coleman did not respond to email or phone messages for comment.

Passow, 21, dated Coleman for a little over a month, she said. In late December, she said, she and Coleman rented an Airbnb in Kansas City, Missouri, and were spending time in a hot tub on the property when Coleman started to pressure her into having a threesome. She had made clear she wasn’t interested, “but he kept talking about it,” she said. “So I said, ‘Maybe I can break up with you for your birthday so you can have your threesome.’” Passow also gave her account to The Intercept, which first published some of her allegations on Tuesday night.

At that point, Passow said, Coleman jumped over from his side of the hot tub, choked her, slapped her three times, and said, “Where the fuck you think you’re going?” Passow said she slapped him back and pushed him off of her. She threatened to break up with him again and started to pack up her things, after which he said “good luck getting a ride home,” she recalls. Coleman then asked Passow whether she was going to apologize to him.

Though the couple didn’t break up that day, they did in January. Passow shared with GEN a text exchange between herself and Coleman where he admits to hitting her. “I smacked you,” he wrote.

As Coleman debated his political future over the past week, he reached out several times to Passow: in a phone call on August 22 in which, she said, he asked her what it would take for her not to share her story; and via a text message on August 23, where he told her, “I deeply apologize for any mistakes I might have made. I know I wasn’t a perfect boyfriend, but I’m not dropping out of the race.” Passow shared screenshots of her call log and the text exchanges with GEN. A childhood friend, who declined to be named, said she’d been told about the assault in the hot tub around the time it happened, according to The Intercept.

Passow also provided text messages that Coleman sent her in mid-December, when they were still dating, in which, after she told him she was hitchhiking, he replied, “I hope you get abducted raped chopped up and have ya pieces scattered around and Burnt in different locations.” He wrote, “you might get lucky and they might kill you first then rape your corpse.” He then included a warning that this has happened to women who hitchhike.

During one of their breakups, he texted her to tell her to go kill herself. “Air out the clip into your head. Mag dump yourself. Do that midnight tonight. If I never hear from you again then I’ll know what happened,” he wrote.

Passow said that Coleman told her that he would kill her if she ever got pregnant, which she took as a serious threat. Then in January, “I had a pregnancy scare with Aaron… but I was so scared and didn’t know what to do because of the threat he had made.” Passow said she stayed at a friend’s house for several days out of fear until she was sure she wasn’t pregnant.

“He shouldn’t have any power or control,” Passow said.

Another woman, Kansas college student Megan McQuinn, said that Coleman harassed her in May in an attempt to get her to attack his political opponent, seven-term incumbent Rep. Stan Frownfelter. McQuinn had shared testimony before the Kansas House Federal & State Affairs and Senate Judiciary Committees opposing an anti-abortion bill, and afterward had a bad interaction with Frownfelter. McQuinn says Frownfelter implied her abortion was her fault and ignored the abusive relationship she was in. Frownfelter did not respond to a request for comment.

McQuinn says that after hearing about the experience with Frownfelter, Coleman tried to launch a “Justice for Megan” campaign without her permission. When she asked Coleman to stop reducing her story “to a political stunt,” he replied via DM (in screenshots shared with GEN), “You are a political prop. Think of it as a good thing not a bad thing.” Coleman also did not respond to a request for comment about McQuinn’s allegation.

Coleman continued to hound McQuinn in DMs about allowing him to use her story, asking “What would you have me do, Megan?” McQuinn says she’s appalled that Coleman has decided to continue running. “He cites voters telling him to stay in the race; I simply can’t believe if they knew the full truth they would still feel the same way,” she said.

“It’s only made worse by Coleman’s claims to be a champion for women.”

Feminist author & columnist. Native NYer, pasta enthusiast.

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