ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Saying it shows “Steve Stenger’s role in the victimization of women and young girls,” Charlie Dooley’s re-election campaign has begun running an ad criticizing Stenger for his role in defending a sex ring kingpin in 2000.
The ad accuses Stenger, who was one of several attorneys appointed to defend six men accused of running a nationwide sex trade ring, of blaming the victims, “saying it was the lifestyle they chose.”
Dooley Campaign Spokeswoman Linda Goldstein says Stenger’s comments during that trial, “are about as ridiculous as Todd Akin’s ‘legitimate rape’ comment.”
Goldstein admitted that Stenger was doing his job as a defense attorney, but added, “Defending a client is understandable. No one argues with that. But, the [blame the victim] tactic he used is indefensible.”
She says it shows something about how Stenger feels about women.
“I think that he’s pretending to support women, that’s what I think. I don’t care if it’s his personal belief or not at this point. He said it so there must be some truth in it.”
Dooley was not at the press conference due to other commitments.
Meanwhile, Stenger held a news conference of his own to respond to the ad.
“That ad is really despicable,” Stenger said, “And I think that the ad shows a desperate attempt by someone who, I believe, Mr. Dooley thinks he’s losing this election.”
Stenger says that he was a court-appointed public defender in the case, and noted that one of Dooley’s top supporters, County Assessor Jake Zimmerman, also was a defense attorney in the trial.
When asked about the allegation in the ad that Stenger in the trial had “blamed the women” who were prostitutes for having “chosen” that lifestyle, he claimed the Dooley ad takes his statements out of context.
“As I stand here today, I would have to check the transcripts to see what part of the case that was said in, and if it was even said,” Stenger said.
Stenger was joined by former Missouri Senator Jean Carnahan, who says Stenger has her confidence in looking out for the interests of women.
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