Kentucky candidate accused of strangling teenager


FORT WRIGHT, Ky. – A candidate in the Republican primary for Kentucky House of Representatives District 67 was arrested Monday in Fort Wright on strangulation charges.

Fort Wright and Edgewood police officers responded to a Walmart location in Valley Plaza Monday evening after a report of an adult male putting his hands on a 17-year-old inside the store. When they arrived, officers found the teen with scars and a scratch on his neck.

The teen told police he was fooling around with his friends near the store's bike aisle. The ball they were playing with almost hit a child who was with his family.

According to a police report, the teen said the child's father, Brian Ormes, became angry and followed the teens. He is accused of grabbing one of the teenagers and putting his hands around his neck. The teen told police he was unable to breathe for a second but never passed out.

An employee who said she saw the incident told police she saw Ormes put his hand around the teen's neck.

Surveillance footage from the store showed Ormes following the teenager before getting in his face, chest to chest, and saying something. As the teen walks down the aisle, police said surveillance footage shows Ormes pushing the teen against a shelf and placing his hands on his neck.

According to police, Ormes admitted to laying hands on the teen. He told an officer he was upset that the teens had almost hit his son with a ball.

Ormes is running in the May 21 primary for Kentucky House of Representatives District 67, which includes part of Campbell County. His opponents are Terry Hatton and Jerry Gearding. Matthew Lehman is the Democratic nominee.

Hatton called on Ormes to drop out of the race on Tuesday.

“He should think about dropping out of the race,” he said. “His actions last night demonstrate that he clearly has some personal issues that he needs to address before he can serve the public.”

The Campbell County Republican Party said it was aware of reports of an alleged incident involving Ormes, “but I don't know any details about it, so we have no comment at this time.”

“However, we strongly support the constitutional right of Mr. Ormes and every American citizen to due process and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law,” the statement said.

The group noted that it does not support or endorse any candidate in a contested primary race and would support any candidate who wins the primary.

“We trust the judgment of Republican voters here in Campbell County and will support the candidates they select on May 21,” the statement said.

Melissa Whalen, chairwoman of the Campbell County Democratic Party, called the situation “sad.”

“I don’t know how we got to this point,” she said.

Whalen said the arrest and Republican response were indicative of larger problems in American politics.

“Of course none of us are perfect,” she said, “but there is a line that should be crossed.”

Lehman, a Democrat, declined an interview and further comment, writing: “In general, I believe our elected officials should respect their constituents and serve as responsible community leaders. That’s what I will do if elected to represent Northern Campbell County in Frankfort.”

Court documents show Ormes posted bond Tuesday. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 16.

WCPO is showing Ormes' mugshot because he is a public figure running for office.