Scott Lee Cohen Was Dream Scandal Newspapers Missed
Newspapers serve a most important role in our democracy. One of the vital jobs they undertake is in-depth and investigative pieces. It is, and should be, a priority. However, in Chicago these past months the investigative ball was dropped over a real peach of a story. As a result there is plenty of egg for everyone’s face. I understand that newspapers have faced severe cutbacks in staff and column inches, and therefore there are less feet on the pavement. Still, I am puzzled how this most juicy story concerning Scott Lee Cohen, the Democratic winner on Tuesday for lieutenant governor, slipped by the radar of leading newspaper reporters in Illinois. How this slipped by opposition research of the other candidates is an equally fascinating question.
But new disclosures showed that even as Cohen was spending more than $2 million of his own money to run TV and radio ads for his campaign, his ex-wife in December was accusing him in court of being $54,000 behind in child support payments. Cohen and his ex-wife declined to discuss the ongoing case.
The latest details came after the Tribune reported Wednesday that police and court records from an October 2005 incident show that Cohen’s then-girlfriend alleged he put a knife to her throat and pushed her head against a wall. Public records show that the woman, his 24-year-old girlfriend at the time, pleaded guilty to prostitution that same month.
The misdemeanor charges against Cohen were later dropped when the woman did not show up for court. Cohen also denied allegations he physically assaulted her and used a knife.
Cohen said Thursday he didn’t know the woman was a prostitute and met her when he got a “straight massage” at the Eden Spa.
But a Glenview police report indicates his ex-girlfriend freely told an undercover officer posing as a massage customer that women there performed sex acts for money. The April 2005 report detailed a sexual act that Cohen’s ex-girlfriend performed for $150, then told the undercover officer that the spa operator “is well-aware of what the girls are doing.”