Kathleen Brown Says Daughter Was Raped, Son Was Robbed Years Ago
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ Portrayed by her opponent as soft on crime, gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Brown says she has reason to be tough: Her son was mugged and her daughter raped.
The disclosure provided a moment of unexpected drama in a debate Friday night - particularly for Brown’s daughter, who apparently didn’t know of her mother’s plans.
″What I resent most of all is you questioning my commitment to be tough on crime,″ Brown, a Democrat, told Republican Gov. Pete Wilson. ″You cannot imagine what it’s like to be a mother, waiting at home late at night for your kids to come home - waiting for your daughter to come home in the evening, and having her come home and comfort her because she’s been raped.″
Wilson’s ads have portrayed Brown as soft on crime, noting her opposition to the death penalty and warning that she would appoint lenient judges.
After the debate, Brown said her daughter Sascha Rice, 25, had been raped on a date several years ago. Brown said her son Zebediah Rice, 23, was robbed on his way home from school when the family lived in New York in the late 1980s.
Campaign spokesman Steven Glazer said Monday that Brown learned of the attack on her daughter ″a while later,″ but gave no further details.
No police report was filed in either case, Brown said, because the family did not believe anything would be done.
Brown telephoned her daughter following the debate to notify her of the remarks, Glazer said.
Brown’s comments were not scripted, though she had recently talked with Rice about the possibility of revealing the rape, Glazer said.
There was no telephone listing for Rice in Santa Fe, N.M., where she lives, and the Brown campaign would not say how she reacted to the debate.
Brown’s eldest daughter, Hilary Armstrong, 29, of San Diego said Monday at a campaign appearance there that she was surprised by the disclosure, which she said seemed ″very spontaneous.″
She would not discuss her sister’s reaction. ″She’s been through enough already,″ Armstrong said. ″She wants to keep it private.″
She said that before the campaign, the family talked generally about how private matters could become public during the race. Sascha Rice ″knew it was a possibility that in some form or other it might come out,″ Armstrong said.
Jill Banks-Barad, a consultant for Democratic candidates, said it seemed unlikely that Brown ″would have just done it in the passion of the debate. There must have been some discussion with her campaign managers.″
She said the incident would help Brown, who trails Wilson in the polls by 10 points or more.
″I saw her in a different way,″ Banks-Barad said. ″I saw her as more human. Here is a woman who’s answering as a woman and a mother, and I think people, not just women, but people can relate to that.″
During the debate, Wilson called Brown’s statement ″a moving performance″ and repeated his attack on her commitment to fight crime.
Afterward, he said, ″It was a terrible experience for her daughter and for her as a mother. ... I can only feel sympathy for her and her daughter.″