Rep. Steve Marino (R-Harrison Twp.) at a House Commerce and Tourism Committee hearing, Feb. 23, 2021 | Screenshot
After state Rep. Steve Marino (R-Harrison Twp.) allegedly told Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham) that he was making it his “life mission to destroy you” and he hoped her car exploded on her way to work, the Democratic lawmaker said she is deeply concerned for her well-being and is terrified to be in the same building as him, according to recently filed court documents.
“I am afraid of Steve,” Manoogian said in a Personal Protection Order (PPO) petition filed in an Ingham County court on Friday. “He repeatedly tells me that he hopes I get in a car crash on my commute to Lansing, and that he hopes my car will blow up.”
In the petition for the PPO, which was granted Friday by 30th Circuit Judge Lisa McCormick, Manoogian alleges the physical, emotional and verbal abuse she faced from Marino after the two lawmakers ended a brief romantic relationship at the end of 2019.
“He told me that I better hide because he was going to sit by my desk and ream me a new asshole until he leaves the House,” Manoogian said in the court documents.
Marino did not respond to a request for comment. His lawyer, Mike Rataj, wrote in an email Tuesday that, “my counsel, Mary Chartier, and I will be filing a motion to set aside the PPO.”
Last week, Marino issued a statement to the media that said, “I will be clear: the insinuations made are nothing more than politically motivated character assassination that I am confident will conclude as a waste of the public’s time.”
Manoogian wrote in the court documents that she feels unsafe at both home and work.
“Steve knows where I live and knows where my parents and younger sister live,” the lawmaker said in the court documents. “Not only does he know my routines, as colleagues we are to be in the same building at the same time when the House of Representatives is in session.”
“I live alone and I am scared that Steve’s mental health will continue to deteriorate while his attention and anger are fixated on me,” Manoogian continued.
Gideon D’Assandro, a spokesman for House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Clare), wrote in an email Tuesday that Marino “can enter the Capitol for caucus and to vote.”
Both Marino and Manoogian have offices in the House Office Building. Marino also “can enter the House Office Building to access his office for official business,” D’Assandro wrote.
Last week, Wentworth stripped Marino of his committee assignments without explanation. The next day, Manoogian issued a statement accusing Marino of domestic abuse.
“None of us are immune to a volatile relationship, regardless of our career,” Manoogian said at the time. “It can happen right here in our legislature, where abuse of power and threats to ruin a colleague’s reputation, as well as threats of public shaming, can be used to intimidate fellow members of the legislature.”
In addition to the PPO filed against Marino, the Michigan State Police confirmed they are conducting a criminal investigation into Marino.
According to the court documents, Manoogian said the abuse began after she and Marino ended their four-month relationship at the end of 2019. At the start of 2020, “Steve’s behavior toward me changed dramatically,” Manoogian wrote in the PPO petition.
“Face to face and over text, Steve began threatening me and harassing me,” Manoogian wrote. “It has escalated to a point where I fear for my safety and for Steve’s own safety. I believe he is mentally unstable and that he might try to cause harm to himself or to others as the truth of abusive behavior comes to light and he is held accountable for the things he has said and done.”
Marino has “emotionally and verbally abused me relentlessly,” Manoogian said in the court documents.
“He also physically abused me,” she wrote. “I do not like hugs, I am not a touchy-feely person. Steve knows this. He chased me around his apartment and held me against my will in a ‘hug’ until I cried.”
In copies of texts provided to the court, Marino wrote to Manoogian that, “You’re truly the worst human being I’ve ever met. I mean that with the utmost sincerity. Just a parasite.”
Manoogian wrote in the court documents that Marino will often tell her that “he has no friends and that no one cares about him, in order to gain my sympathy, and threatens to harm his dog, Shadow, if I do not spend time with him.”
“Conversely, he’s also told that I am stupid, that I deserve to be alone, and that no one will ever love me,” Manoogian said in the PPO filing.
Following Manoogian’s allegations of abuse, the Democratic lawmaker said she has experienced an outpouring of support.
“I want to express my gratitude towards the large community of individuals who have, without hesitation, supported my family and me during this difficult time,” she wrote in a Sept. 18 statement posted to Twitter. “I have placed my faith in the judicial system. I’m confident Steve will be held accountable for his actions and that the truth will prevail.”
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