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Rising Republican star faces accusations from women

Several women complain of aggressive sexual behavior from young North Carolina congressional candidate

Rising Republican star faces accusations from women

Madison Cawthorn (Handout)

Madison Cawthorn, a 25-year-old Republican nominee, will become one of the youngest members of Congress in history if voters in western North Carolina elect him in November.

Political pundits have declared him the new face of the GOP. He campaigns on a platform of conservative values and calls himself “pro-Trump, pro-life, and pro-Second Amendment.” His emphasis on “faith, family, and freedom” has so far resonated in his district: In a June primary, he bested his Trump-endorsed opponent, Lynda Bennett, in a race for the congressional seat of former Rep. Mark Meadows. Afterward, Cawthorn scored an Oval Office meeting with President Donald Trump.

Cawthorn, who turned 25 on Aug. 1, has no previous political experience and describes himself as a Christian. He also uses a wheelchair: A car accident when he was 18 left him paralyzed from the waist down. Despite the accident, he’s an athlete: His Instagram shows him lifting weights and working out. His campaign message is powerful: Having overcome personal tragedy, he can now challenge inside-the-Beltway politicians. 

Is Cawthorn the great representative of family values his campaign indicates? Several women, citing his behavior toward them, say no. The women say Cawthorn exhibited sexually or verbally aggressive behavior toward them when they were teenagers. 

Two women say he forcibly kissed them. One woman told me he grabbed her thigh and moved his hand an inch or two beneath her dress. WORLD has corroborated each woman’s account with at least one other individual. 

I contacted Cawthorn’s campaign to ask about the women’s claims. Cawthorn’s campaign turned down my initial request to interview him and did not respond to three subsequent requests. The campaign did email me a statement addressing one woman’s claims. 

The first incident, which occurred in 2014, became public on Thursday. Katrina Krulikas posted on Instagram a statement describing a date she had with Cawthorn when she was 17 and he was 19. During the date, she said, Cawthorn—who is now engaged—tried forcibly to kiss her, although she had rejected his earlier attempt to do so. 

When I contacted Cawthorn’s campaign with questions about the incident, a spokesman replied that Cawthorn had previously reached out to Krulikas and “apologized if his attempt to kiss her when he was a teenager made her feel uncomfortable or unsafe.” The spokesman, John Hart, claimed Democrats were using Krulikas in a political attack on Cawthorn. 

I interviewed Krulikas earlier this month—before her Instagram post—after learning about her claims. I also spoke with people to whom she described the incident before Cawthorn announced his run for Congress. I obtained screenshots of text messages in which Cawthorn confirmed some details about Krulikas’ account. 

Krulikas was a high-school senior at the time of the fall 2014 incident in Asheville, N.C. She was part of the same Christian homeschool community as Cawthorn, and she described the community as one where parents organized activities such as sporting events, dances, and co-operative classes. 

Nineteen-year-old Cawthorn was popular at the time. When he contacted Krulikas over social media, she says she had no misgivings. She said Cawthorn told her she was pretty and complimented her green eyes. He asked her for a date. She agreed.

Krulikas says the date occurred on a cool fall day and that she had dressed warmly. She drove to meet Cawthorn at Biltmore Park—a town center with a movie theater, restaurants, stores, and businesses—at around 6:30 to 7 p.m. Cawthorn, who drove a handicap-accessible vehicle, invited Krulikas to get into his car, and the two rode together about 20 minutes away to a secluded field for a campfire. 

Krulikas does not remember the exact location and or many details of the drive because it was already dark. Here’s what she does remember: Once they arrived, Cawthorn lit the fire. She sat next to him in a chair he had brought for her. The date soon took an uncomfortable turn. He asked her a series of intimate questions: whether she had had sex, when she was planning to have sex, and why she hadn’t had sex. He asked her to sit on his lap. Krulikas tried to laugh the request off, but Cawthorn insisted: “I felt pressured and unsure of how to say no.” She sat in his lap and felt tense and unsure of how to get out of the situation.

Krulikas says she was sheltered and naïve at the time: “Sex was just not something that I talked about often or really at all. … I’m not sure I even knew anybody who was having sex because I was so sheltered at that point.” Here’s more of her recollection: Cawthorn tried to kiss her. She turned her head away. After an awkward moment, they continued talking. A few minutes later he tried again, this time grabbing her face: “He was much stronger than me.” As Cawthorn tried to kiss her on the mouth, Krulikas pulled away and attempted to jump out of his lap. While doing so, her hair, which reached midway down her back, caught in Cawthorn’s wheelchair: “I had to pull out some of my own hair just to free myself.” She describes herself as panicked. She remembers leaving a tangled chunk of her hair in his wheelchair.

Krulikas doesn’t remember how long the remainder of the date lasted and doesn’t remember Cawthorn saying anything during the drive back to her car. That night she texted a friend to say the date had gone horribly and left her feeling unsettled.

Since 2014, Krulikas said, she has not spoken to Cawthorn again about the incident, but she told three Asheville-area friends about it. I interviewed two of them. They confirmed that Krulikas told them about the date with Cawthorn.

One, Lizbeth Sherill, a childhood friend of Krulikas, confirmed that Krulikas called her and told her about the date a few weeks after it occurred. A second, Madison Jamieson, learned about the incident while exchanging Instagram messages with Krulikas in August 2019. In one of the messages, which WORLD has seen, Krulikas told Jamieson he tried to “forcibly grab” her after she declined to kiss him.

Earlier this year, Sherill received a text message from Cawthorn’s campaign asking if he could count on her vote. Assuming it was an automated message, she texted back, saying she would not vote for Cawthorn because of what he had done to her friend.

Soon after, on Feb. 3, Krulikas received two texts from someone who identified himself as Madison Cawthorn. The texts said his campaign had heard from someone claiming Cawthorn had “sexually assaulted [my] friend Katrina in high school.”

The texts, which WORLD has viewed, added: “I remember you and I went on a date to that campfire years ago and I remember I asked if I could kiss you, you said no, but I thought you were just being coy and then I really quickly kissed you and that’s all I can remember. I can see in hindsight how that was over the line and I am sorry.” 

While the texts described a quick kiss, Krulikas told me she doesn’t remember an actual kiss—only an attempted one. Krulikas says she didn’t respond to the messages and blocked the number. The apparent apology from Cawthorn, she said, struck her as insincere, coming after the launch of his campaign for Congress: “This message came six years after the fact, when … he faces the possibility of public scrutiny.”

John Hart, the campaign spokesman, said in a response to this account that voters in North Carolina should “process this unfounded allegation with common sense and grace ... This was one of Madison’s first dates after he was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life ... When an anonymous person brought this matter to the campaign’s attention, Madison personally reached out to Katrina Aldona [Krulikas] and apologized if his attempt to kiss her when he was a teenager made her feel uncomfortable or unsafe. He was relieved when Ms. [Krulikas] shared that she does not feel like a victim. It’s unfortunate that she is now being used by Democrats to further their political agenda.”

Asked about the campaign’s response, Krulikas told me by text, “I have not been used/put up by any Democrats.” Krulikas has described herself on social media as a Democrat but says she no longer lives in Asheville and will not be voting for either Cawthorn or his opponent.

In her statement posted to Instagram Thursday, Krulikas said she did not feel like a victim, but that she was concerned that “while the media portrays Madison as a role model for Christian, family values, my experience with him leads me to believe otherwise.”

Krulikas isn’t the only person who tells of sexual aggression. 

Francesca McDaniel, who grew up in the same community as Cawthorn, describes a similar incident that occurred several months later, on May 29, 2015. She was at Biltmore Baptist Church in Arden, N.C., for her homeschool graduation ceremony. Cawthorn was the featured speaker for the ceremony. 

McDaniel had a boyfriend at the time, and although he attended the ceremony, he left immediately after it following an awkward exchange with McDaniel’s father. Before his speech, McDaniel said, Cawthorn began sending her flirtatious Facebook messages complimenting her appearance. After a reception, Cawthorn—a friend of McDaniel’s brother—tagged along with her family to dinner at Papa’s and Beer, a Mexican restaurant about 10 minutes from Biltmore Baptist.

After the dinner, McDaniel planned to go to a friend’s house for a graduation party. Initially, her parents were going to drive her. Instead, McDaniel said, Cawthorn offered her a ride. 

Here’s what McDaniel remembers: The friend’s house was a 15-minute drive away, but Cawthorn pulled onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and took what seemed to be a longer route. She asked, “Where are we going?” Cawthorn said he wanted to go stargazing. During the drive, he asked why she seemed not to like him. McDaniel responded, “I don’t like you because I think you’re a huge player.” He asked other personal questions: whether she was a virgin and why she was with her current boyfriend.

Here’s what else McDaniel remembers: he talked about his genitalia and said he could still have fun. Cawthorn pulled off the road and into the Walnut Cove Overlook on the parkway. He leaned toward her seat, reached for her face with both hands, pulled her in, and kissed her. McDaniel resisted:  “No, I have a boyfriend.” Cawthorn persisted. He told her nobody had to know. He kissed her again. She pushed him away with two hands to his chest. She turned and tried to grab the passenger door handle. At that moment the lock snapped shut, but at the same time he assured her that they would head to the party.

McDaniel remembers him then leaning in for another kiss, putting one hand around her head and his other on her left thigh: “I felt, like, pressured to give in to it because he started being aggressive, and he is a strong guy. He had buff arms and worked out his upper body a lot.”

McDaniel says they kissed for perhaps one minute. Her nervousness did not subside. She told him she didn’t want her parents, who were strict, to learn she wasn’t at her friend’s house. They could track her location using the smartphone app Life360, and she told Cawthorn she needed to send them her location. At that point, she says, Cawthorn agreed they should leave and drove her to the party.

Before they reached the house, McDaniel remembers, Cawthorn asked to take her out again. She gave Cawthorn her number and had several text conversations with him: In one she expressed remorse because she felt the kiss constituted cheating. She did not go out with Cawthorn again and tried to avoid him after that.

McDaniel told childhood friend Julie Maxwell about the incident a few days after it happened. Maxwell remembers, “She was upset because he was forcefully—wasn’t letting her out of the car and he kept saying, no one would find out. She had a boyfriend at the time, she was freaking out.”

McDaniel agreed to share her story after reading Krulikas’ Instagram statement on Friday and realizing the scenario was similar to hers. 

Cawthorn entered Patrick Henry College (Purcellville, Va.) in fall 2016 and stayed there for part of one academic year. He initially made a good impression on fellow students, many alumni told me. (I am also a graduate of PHC.) At one point, while speaking to the student body during corporate chapel time, Cawthorn told of his accident and recovery, and the lessons he had learned: “Whatever your gift is, I want to challenge you to take that gift to the ends of the earth for Christ and for liberty, to make His name known.”

But some students’ impressions soured. One PHC alumna said Cawthorn grabbed her thigh while the two talked in the school’s dining hall. WORLD is withholding the woman’s name because speaking to media would jeopardize her current job in the federal government. 

The alumna was 19 years old at the time. Here’s what she remembers: She walked into the dining hall, wearing a brown dress that hit around 6 inches above her knees. Cawthorn waved her over to his table. He asked her whether she thought one of her girlfriends would go out with him on a date. Suddenly Cawthorn placed his hand on her upper left leg near the hem of her dress: “His hand was on the side, and his fingers were on the back of my leg.”

She remembers nothing like that happening to her before at PHC: “Going to a Christian school—no one does stuff like that … He was talking to me and then he moved his hand up my skirt. Not significantly but enough to where it was under my skirt and not appropriate … It was in public where people could see … It was a super weird situation where we were talking about another girl that he liked, but he was touching me.” After that, she avoided him. She did not report the incident to school officials but told her roommate. The roommate confirms that.

WORLD repeatedly asked for an interview with Cawthorn to discuss these accounts but has not yet heard a response. WORLD will update the story as more information becomes available. 

“I do not know who Madison Cawthorn is today,” Katrina Krulikas said in her Instagram statement Thursday. “But I do know how threatened and belittled he made me feel six years ago.”

—This story has been corrected to identify the Walnut Cove Overlook as the one where Francesca McDaniel says Cawthorn took her.

An update to WORLD’s original story

Nearly three hours after WORLD published its story on Madison Cawthorn on Sunday, a campaign spokesman contacted WORLD asking to speak to the editors who oversaw the piece. When reporter Harvest Prude and deputy editor Michael Reneau refused to go off the record in a conversation with campaign spokesman John Hart, he said he would respond publicly to WORLD’s story.

Later on Sunday, a reporter with the Daily Caller News Foundation asked WORLD for a response to a statement from the Cawthorn campaign.

In the Daily Caller story, the Cawthorn campaign called WORLD’s story a “mix of half-truths, untruths and potentially fabricated allegations based on double anonymous sources.” Hart also said that it is “shocking and disappointing that WORLD would participate in left-wing, campaign season character assassination.” The statement also said WORLD didn’t provide details to Cawthorn’s campaign about the second two accusations prior to publication.

In his statement to the Daily Caller, Hart said Cawthorn has “no recollection of the anonymous accusation and denies being forceful in the other two circumstances. … Sadly, in the Kavanaugh age, nothing will satisfy a woke mob that decides someone is guilty of sexual misconduct until proven innocent. … There is a big difference between a failed advance and being forceful, to the extent that’s possible when you’re a paraplegic. If being guilty of an awkward, failed advance is a disqualifying event every male in public office should resign.”

Below is the full statement WORLD gave to the Daily Caller: 

“We first requested an interview with Madison Cawthorn Friday afternoon to ask about the Katrina Krulikas accusation. The campaign sent a written response, and we again requested an interview. The campaign said he was unavailable Friday night, so we asked when he would be available. The campaign did not respond. At 2:02 p.m. Saturday, we requested another interview and received no response. Just past 10 p.m. Saturday night, we requested another interview and told the campaign we wanted to question Cawthorn about additional accusations from several other women. We also told the campaign if we did not get a response by noon Sunday, we would publish the story without the interview. The campaign did not respond. Three hours after our story published Sunday, campaign spokesman John Hart contacted us. In a phone conversation, when Deputy Editor Michael Reneau and reporter Harvest Prude wouldn’t agree to an off-the-record conversation, Hart hung up without answering our questions.

“The story included two named sources citing Cawthorn’s aggressive sexual behavior that they personally experienced, and three additional sources corroborating their accounts. We granted anonymity to one source to protect her job but corroborated her account with another student. We ask the campaign to be specific: Which of the stories we published is untrue? Which is fabricated?”

So far the campaign has not answered those questions. —The Editors

Harvest Prude

Harvest Prude

Harvest is a political reporter for WORLD's Washington Bureau. She is a World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College graduate. Harvest resides in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter @HarvestPrude.


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  • AlanE
    Posted: Sun, 08/16/2020 03:10 pm

    Wow, what a difficult read. This highlights the level to which we as Christians go to conceal our sins. We have little theology of forgiveness and restoration because we present a facade that has little use for either. We ignore the wisdom from the past regarding romance and sexuality and then are horrified that these things happen. We downplay the significance of Donald Trump's misdeeds and then seem shocked when similar problems show up within the community of professing Christians. The culture has changed us more than we have changed the culture. 

  • not silent
    Posted: Mon, 08/17/2020 01:28 pm

    As a survivor of sexual assault, I also found this very difficult to read.  To be honest, I have very mixed feelings right now.

     On one hand, it's good that people are able to speak out about inappropriate actions that others have taken, and there are some actions that should NEVER be considered appropriate.  If someone has a pattern of inappropriate behavior, they need to be called on it.  People also need to realize how their behaviors can affect others.  While some behaviors are never okay, there are others which might be perceived as innocent by the person doing them but NOT by the person receiving them.  We are commanded as Christians to make amends if our brother or sister has anything against us, and I think we should do it whether or not we undestand WHY our actions offended our brother or sister.     

    On the other hand, it seems to me that sexual assault has become one of the major methods of political attack by both major political parties.  (I'm not saying it's treated equally by the press, because it definitely isn't; all I'm saying is that both sides are using it as a weapon.)  While bringing forth allegations may help to hold people accountable, the way it is being done at present in the political arena is not always helpful to survivors of assault and may ultimately be harmful.  The fact that some of the most outspoken people against assault by "the other party" seem perfectly willing to overlook any transgressions by their own party shows me this is more about politics than about helping victims or "hearing their stories."

    An accusation of assualt is painful for everyone involved: the victim, the accused person, the families, and everyone who has to endure the media circus that inevitably results.  I do think people need to be held accountable, but I can't help cringing whenever there is an accusation against a public official. 


  • VolunteerBB
    Posted: Sun, 08/23/2020 11:36 pm

    We're shocked when similar problems show up within the community of professing Christians, REGARDLESS of what Donald Trump did or does in the future.  Why bring Trump into it?  These alleged incidents stand on their own.  

  • Kristi
    Posted: Sun, 08/16/2020 03:42 pm

    These accusations are clearly a witch-hunt.  Verbal aggression? A teenage boy tries to kiss a girl.  Shocking!

  • psubrent
    Posted: Sun, 08/16/2020 06:01 pm

    I'm with Kristi.  I'm not sure if this article would have even been written if Cawthorn wasn't running for political office.

  • Laura W
    Posted: Mon, 08/17/2020 02:27 pm

    A muscular 19-year-old young man attempts to forcibly kiss a 17-year-old young woman who has already refused his advances. Yes, that's bad. If anything, the fact that what's alleged is no worse than that makes it sound more credible to me. It's possible that his character has changed since then, but I would think that the burden of proof would be on him if it has.

  • Ann Marshall
    Posted: Thu, 08/27/2020 09:06 pm

    What I hear you saying, Kristi, is that a young man is free to use his superior physical strength to force a young woman to submit to physical contact. Is that your meaning?

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Mon, 08/24/2020 01:43 am

    We have seen accusations put forward by Democrats again and again during the last few months of a campaign to destroy a conservative candidate. You must understand how these political assassins think and their way of operations. First they look for any dirt they can find and look back to the friends and enemies to find anything useful. If they find a woman with a story of inappropriate behavior then they will see if they will come forward with the accusations. If they won't they will say there are other women who have been assaulted to cause the first woman to come forward. They will then find a woman- usually a Democrat- and will create a fictional story putting something in that clearly sounds bad e.g. forcing himself on a woman in a very aggressive way, locking the door, etc. Putting these stories together, they then  look for an outlet for a story. They may directly take it to a mainstream source or they may feed it to another source such as World by feeding out crumbs so the reporter thinks they are uncovering a major story by their investigation.  

    The challenge of these attacks is that if they are made up, there isn't anything that the candidate can do to protect himself.  If they comment on the allegations, then it only highlights it and makes it a worse situation. Quite frankly, I don't trust the World reporter to have the wisdom to discern fact from fiction. This is troubling because World then becomes the arm of slander and political attacks rather than real Christian reporting.  We have seen the attacks on Cavanaugh, Judge Roy Moore and others to know this is common practice. l do believe that if a woman is going to bring an accusation on a candidate, they should bring it up when the candidate first announces his candidacy, otherwise they should keep quiet. 

    "WORLD is withholding the woman’s name because speaking to media would jeopardize her current job in the federal government."

    This is an outright lie!  Let us see the ruling by the attorneys in her federal org not allowing her to speak! 

    How many of these women are now Democrats? 

    Posted: Mon, 08/17/2020 09:10 am

    Some say this article wouldn't have been written if the man were not running for office. We could say the same thing about these readers who are typing their comments on this comment thread: they wouldn't be defending this hypocrite except that he's running for office and they have an interest in the political outcome. If you are going to accuse the article's author of going on a witch hunt, you are going to have to provide evidence. A witch hunt is an attempt to discredit someone by cobbling together a set of falsehoods; if the article offers you truthful testimonies then this is not a witch hunt, it's an exposure of sin. Does every sinner's sin need to be exposed in a national news venue? No, but when someone is running for Congress on a family and faith platform, and when they have a pattern of sleazy behavior, a lot of good can be done by exposing their sin. First, it protects future victims from this man, a man who seems to have not yet repented. Secondly, it protects the good conservative political movement from the liability of a politician who is a hypocrite (we've suffered through many of these and it's best to nip them in the bud before they gain traction and can do more damage to conservatism later on). Thirdly, just like church discipline, such exposure serves as a warning to all of us (tempted and tried in our own venues) that our sin shall find us out. Major kudos to the author and to those who agreed to be interviewed!

  • Mom23Is
    Posted: Mon, 08/17/2020 03:01 pm

    Well said.  Those who run on a platform of "trust me" should be quick to admit wrongs and repent of them.  I don't see that here. 

  •  dcsfoyle's picture
    Posted: Wed, 08/19/2020 12:26 pm

    Thanks for that comment. Plain and logical.

  • Fuzzyface
    Posted: Mon, 08/17/2020 09:57 am

    These allegations are troubling - though not quite as troubling as Biden's as he did show a little more restraint than Biden.

    I would be looking for indications of change in the last 5 years.  Although 5 years isn't a long time for an older person we might more likely see change in a younger one.

    There have been times that I've 'held my nose' and voted for someone similar to this.  I kept hoping that someone would knock him off in the primary.  Then, with the Me Too movement, our state senate was able to have him removed and appointed a much better person to take his place.

  • MEL1979
    Posted: Mon, 08/17/2020 12:49 pm

    The real issue here is his age. In reality teenage boy and girls make mistakes, sometimes serious one. It's good to be able to reflect on them, grow and aplogize to the offended. The real problem is that this young man is not many years from foolish youthful behavior. He would be better off living as a private citizen and learning how make a living so that he can better govern, knowing the true issues and problem of the common man. Regardless of party, it drives me crazy to have these early 20-something think they can govern straight out of college. Nothing educates like the real world. 

    PS-This article seems like its trying too hard to show that the publication is "Me Too" sensitive and feels like a witch hunt. Franlky, I'm curious if the accusers have a personal connection with the writer of the article or World Magazine.

  • WA
    Posted: Mon, 08/17/2020 03:00 pm

    The real issue is his age? It's not his deviant behavior making a lie of his spoken testimony? WORLD does not have a reputation of sensationalism, and appears to have done its homework on this story. It's a pity this candidate refused to comment on the story. 

  • My Two Cents
    Posted: Mon, 08/17/2020 02:58 pm

    I agree with others that this is difficult to read. I was hoping this young man would win his bid for office and show some integrity in the area of politics. Instead, we have more women accusing him of sexual assault. Kamala Harris previously accused Joe Biden of being a racist, and said the women accusing him of touching them inappropriately should be believed. Yet she has embraced her newfound position as his running mate. 

    My question is, does every sexual assaulter run for public office, or is every man in America guilty of inappropriate behavior toward women? I sincerely hope, and KNOW that they are many decent and even godly men who treat their sisters in Christ with respect, and have control over their own bodies. At first glance, one would think unbridled lust is a job requirement to run for public office.

    Posted: Tue, 08/18/2020 10:08 am

    I am appalled that Christian commenters are defending him based on age. This behavior is inappropriate and brings reproach on the name of Christ. "Boys will be boys" does not excuse this behavior.

    Thank you to World for following this story and verifying sources.

  • GC
    Posted: Wed, 08/19/2020 11:28 am


  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Sat, 08/29/2020 12:32 pm

    But is this even true or a political hit job? How would you know the difference? The Old Testament is filled with false witnesses and they brought much harm to God's church. 

  • Ann Marshall
    Posted: Tue, 08/18/2020 02:06 pm

    The most important people in this story are those who were harmed. Here in part is what needs to be repented of: making another human feel like an animal caught in a trap. 

    "I had to pull out some of my own hair just to free myself.” She describes herself as panicked. She remembers leaving a tangled chunk of her hair in his wheelchair."

  •  dcsfoyle's picture
    Posted: Wed, 08/19/2020 12:15 pm

    Excellent, well documented work, Harvest.

    I find Mr Cawthorn's behavior toward these women reprehensible and I find the all-too-common blame shifting response from his campaign almost equally reprehensible. As Christians we should not be unfamiliar with repentance; it should be our first response when we are confronted with past wrongs.

    On a side issue, if Republicans/conservatives want to be taken seriously, they need to stop parrotting the fallacy that any viewpoint other than their own is the work of a "woke mob".

  • Ann Marshall
    Posted: Wed, 08/19/2020 05:31 pm

    Thank you for this comment. At times it seems as if no man is willing to call out another man's bad behavior. Excusing this kind of behavior is part of the reason why it continues to be a problem in Christian circles. 

  • JR
    Posted: Wed, 08/19/2020 02:13 pm

    Good job World!  Please continue to expose that which needs to be brought to light.

  • VolunteerBB
    Posted: Thu, 08/20/2020 12:39 am

    Regardless of how this turns out, right now it is a he said/she said, and I hope the truth does win out.  However, so many of these accusations seem minor in comparison to real assault.  I don't mean to downplay that these women were caught unawares, but yet...why did one go out with this man when she was dating someone else?  Why did the first girl sit on his lap when she really didn't want to?  I know this sounds like blaming the victims, and I can understand them feeling safe and/or comfortable with someone they trusted because of the image he portrayed, but I have taken a different approach with my girls.  First NEVER be a victim.  If you don't like something, get up and leave.  We used to call it "mad money" that we kept in our purses to call someone (no cellphones then) for a ride home, or a cab.  We prepared our girls for the cad(s) they would ultimately meet either dating or in the workplace.  A personal experience of a man who constantly sexually harassed the secretaries in the office, smacking us on the butt, crude jokes, etc.  One day walking down the hall, he smacked me on the butt as he walked by.  I turned around and punched him in the back, and got in his face and told him if he ever touched me again, he'd be singing soprano (sort of like Dolly Parton in the movie 9-5).  He never bothered me again.  In those days those things were just put up with, there was no "movement" or anything like that, however, many of us decidedly did NOT put up with it.  I wish the parents of these girls had better prepared them for this inevitable enounter.  You live long enough, work around enough different people, you will meet them, and it doesn't matter who or where it might be, there are plenty of wolves hiding is sheeps clothing-for instance in youth groups, coaches, music teachers, close family friends and even family.  We've got to do better teaching our kids what to watch out for.  I wish more parents would prepare their boys to be gentlemen.  I've also taught my boys to treat a girl like they would want their sisters treated, with repsect first.  

  • not silent
    Posted: Thu, 08/20/2020 11:21 am

    Unfortunately, assault is a very complicated issue.  As I said in a previous comment, the fact that people who have spoken out very strongly against people accused of assault "on the other side" politically have been willing to give a pass to people on "their side" who are accused shows me this issue is sometimes used more as a political weapon than as an attempt to help victims tell their stories or to get justice for them. This obviously hurts the people who are accused, but it also hurts victims by creating additional doubt about ALL accusations.  

    Proverbs 18:17 says: "The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him."  Everyone has inherent biases; but, with public accusations, it is necessary to hear both sides before rushing to judgment.

    Assualt is also complicated in other ways.  What one person views as "minor" may seem extreme to another.  Someone I know was traumatized when someone kissed her against her will.  At the time, she wondered if she was some kind of freak; but it came out later that she had previously experienced other trauma and that, even though the incident was "just a kiss," it was stilll against her will and it caused more trauma than it might caused to someone else because it triggered flashbacks about other things that were done against her will.

    I'm not saying it is this way for everyone, just trying to show that we are all individuals and that our reactions to events are colored by our previous experiences and, as such, they can be complicated.  Truth itself is not relative, but our memories are very subjective; and two people may remember the same incident very differently.   

    Matthew 5:23-25  says: "So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go.  First be reconciled to your brother, and then come offer your gift."

    This says to me that we don't have to understand exactly why our brother (or sister) is upset to acknowledge that they ARE upset, to listen to them, and to do what we can to make things right. 

    I pray for God to reveal the truth in this case and for all who are involved in this painful situation.


  • Kingdomnetworker
    Posted: Thu, 08/20/2020 10:24 am

    Thank you, Harvest and World, for the courage to write such a needed article. Matthew Cawthorn has shown flagrant disregard for women and likely will continue to show disregard for the interest of his neighbor (constituents) if he is elected to congress. Your article should be more prominent on the World website landing page.  It would be better for him NOT to be elected to Congress and be forced to face himself and respect his neighbor by making sincere apologies to these young women.  I suspect he has learned to use the sympathy generated by his status as paraplegic get women in positions of vulnerability.  This young man is a wolf. May he repent and become lamb.

    Posted: Tue, 08/25/2020 02:41 pm

    Cawthorn will be dogged by these very serious and very credible accusations. It is saddening. As a nurse I can tell you that conventional sexual peformance for a young man in a wheel chair is dependent on the level of the spinal cord trauma. Coming to the realization that absent sperm harvesting and artificial insemination he will never be a father has odd effects on most men. And for a younger man even worse. Not saying his paralysis is a carte blanche for these corroborated behaviors but please try to see this from his perspective.

    Normally the politicans don't act like Wilbur Mills until they're sworn into office. At this young man's rate he may wind up the next president of Liberty University.

  • Greysmoke
    Posted: Wed, 08/26/2020 12:08 pm

    This article is well researched, well written, and of journalistic integrity. It illustrates why the press are called the "Fourth Estate" when they address political topics thoughtfully. Well done.

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Mon, 08/31/2020 11:25 am

    How do you know it is well researched? How do you know it wasn't a political hit job and World fell for it? 

  • MD
    Posted: Fri, 08/28/2020 03:08 am

    Harvest, thank you for a cogent, fair article on a tough subject. Handsome young men are often conceited, would-be predators who believe that no girl would say 'no' to their advances. A Christian family -- especially a father with clear standards about respect for females -- can go a long way to blunting the predator instinct that good-looking fellows develop. Narcissism is a common character flaw (sin) in celebrities, salesmen, and politicians. 

    That he is a paraplegic does not mitigate the sin; those with a disability often learn to use it as an excuse for rude or even scandalous behavior. That's strike two.

    Strike three is that a young buck who knows nothing of the world of governing his own passions, much less a U.S. congressional district, thinks he can represent his sovereigns back home in matters coming before the U.S. House. A narcissist would naturally feel equal to any task he takes on; he is the star of his narrative...even at his young age, representing a constituency as large as today's mammoth House districts.

    Today's average US House districts includes about 750,000 people -- 15 times the size intended by the founders, and 25 times the size preferred by George Washington, small districts being the ONLY subject on which Washington spoke publicly before the 4-month-long Philadelphia convention. Mr. Cawthorn stressing that several of the Founding Fathers began their public lives at his age, is fittingly oblivious to the fact that the districts those well-educated young men represented were about 5% as large as the one he wants to represent! 

    [They should not be so huge; in "the Crime of '29", Congress shunted the number of House districts at a pefectly arbitrary 435, without the least constitutional authority to do so, and with the original Article #1 of the Bill of Rights limiting House districts to 50,000 people, still awaiting final ratification by the it still awaits today! See] 

    Were he not a narcissist, young Mr. Cawthorn would have begun modestly -- by running for city council or perhaps county commission. But he's shoooting for the stars, because he's Madison Cawthorn! -- so things like this will surface. His refusal to speak to WORLD Magazine, puts the ribbon on it for me. I'd never want him representing me; not only because he's ignorant of the job, but because if he wins that seat, I'll wager we'd be hearing about more such problems later on. Narcissists with a predator streak stay true to form, usually for life. Unless Christ changes their heart, of course.    

  • Rebecca I
    Posted: Fri, 08/28/2020 03:52 pm

    I cut and pasted your timeline in contacting Cawthorne's campaign below. I am very disturbed by how this was handled by Harvest Prude. First contact: Friday afternoon. The response was 'Not available now' . Second contact: Saturday afternoon. Why was this BUSINESS being conducted on a non-business day? Showing no patience, 3rd contact was attempted Saturday Night. Really? Saturday night? you call this is an attempt? I regularly turn my phone off on weekends. Before Monday morning could hit, you felt is was your duty to publish this article? Why could you not wait till a business day came to do this business? 

    I imagine that it was quite a surprise to the unsuspecting campaign staff to have friends calling in 'Have you seen this?'.  What was accomplished by publishing before a chance to talk in normal business hours? 

    Private, appropriate reconcilation is hardly possible now. Damaged (ended?)  is the possibility of us hearing his side of the story. Well fed is the Self-Righteous arm of the church that is more about looking perfect than understanding sin, repentance and forgiveness and growth. 

    I do not excuse a teenager of sexual misconduct, but I have too many logs in my own eye to be quick to condemn a young man figuring out life (IN OUR CULTURE AND TIMES) . May Mr. Cawthorne grow from this. And may World think twice before running to spread bad news that can cause great damage. 


    “We first requested an interview with Madison Cawthorn Friday afternoon to ask about the Katrina Krulikas accusation. The campaign sent a written response, and we again requested an interview. The campaign said he was unavailable Friday night, so we asked when he would be available. The campaign did not respond. At 2:02 p.m. Saturday, we requested another interview and received no response. Just past 10 p.m. Saturday night, we requested another interview and told the campaign we wanted to question Cawthorn about additional accusations from several other women. We also told the campaign if we did not get a response by noon Sunday, we would publish the story without the interview. The campaign did not respond. Three hours after our story published Sunday, campaign spokesman John Hart contacted us. In a phone conversation, when Deputy Editor Michael Reneau and reporter Harvest Prude wouldn’t agree to an off-the-record conversation, Hart hung up without answering our questions.

  • Big Jim
    Posted: Sun, 08/30/2020 03:07 am

    I wonder what his opponent is like?

  • Lizzy's picture
    Posted: Sun, 08/30/2020 08:29 pm

    Once again a he said she said.  The accuser (surprise surprise) is a Democrat.  The incident was so traumatic yet she only told one person several weeks after it happened and a second person found out about it from an Instagram post two years ago.  The fact that this is coming out just before an election and after the primary does seem a tad too coincidental.  Remember Kavanaugh and all of the made up stories trying to discredit him?

    Perhaps I belong to a different generation, but the one time in my life when I was sexually assaulted would not be posted on a public Instagram page.  And an attempt at an unwanted kiss would not have been classified as sexual assault.  Sexual assault was saved for more serious aggression than an attempted kiss or holding hands.  Also, why on earth would you have a conversation with a person of the opposite sex about sex?  A conversation requires two people and if one person is asking questions, the other person doesn't have to participate.

    The dots in this story don't quite seem to add up and yet there is a rush to judgement.  Even if he is guilty, what gives the woman the right to withhold forgiveness or impugn motives?  There are two sides to every story and judgement should be withheld until both have a fair shot at telling events as they remember them. 


  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Mon, 08/31/2020 11:30 am

    Well stated Lizzy!

    Posted: Sat, 09/05/2020 07:26 pm

    I just read the "Rising Republican Star" accusation in my hard copy, having avoided it on my World homepage since it seemed gossipy. IT IS! We're talking about an assertive teen guy making advances and timid young women who should have slapped or screamed and told on him. This DOES NOT excuse Mr. Cawthorne, but the incidents should have been dealt with first-hand with parents or church present, as the Scriptures teach, For a respected Christian magazine to publish these details is inappropriate if not VERY DISAPPOINTING. I realize there were attempts made to contact Cawthorne, but they did not take the time or make the effort they should have.

    This makes me question if I want to be subscribing to a magazine with such poor judgment. For Ms. Prude to put these details in writing is one thing. For World to publish it makes them part of a worldly trend. Again, I am not minimizing Mr. Cawthorne's possible behavior, but the article reads like a shallow, feminist, teen romance.

    Fiesty Grandma


  •  JEFF's picture
    Posted: Fri, 09/11/2020 08:54 am

    @Fiesty Grandma. You sum up my thoughts well.

    I’ve been a subscriber since the Rush Limbaugh days. When my current subscription expires I will not be renewing. Every organization seems to drift over time. It seems World is drifting, too.

    World has an open-border position. I take the position that we have a rule of law. They are illegal aliens. This does not make me lacking compassion. This, as I read World’s articles on this issue, was a subtext. If you were not for open borders, you are heartless. Marvin used the perjorative 'anti-immagrationists’ in an article. I wrote to him and he said he’d not use that word anymore. That does not change the bent of the position only the vocabulary to be used.

    I always chucked at people in years past who cancelled because of the movie reviews. Recently, I’ve wondered if there are any movies Megan would not recommend. I understand that seems a bit overstated but take the latest review of ‘Mr Jones.’ After describing graphic scenes of violence, nudity (Satanic orgies) and cannibalism the conclusion is the film is ‘ultimately an uplifting film.’ Fast forwarding is the answer. It isn’t that I am ignorant of the discussions of what may or may not be appropriate for Christians to view in art, theater or film. Opinions and convictions range widely. The movie reviews are not helpful to me.

    Emily Belz was shoe-horning her anti-Trump despisal into many of her columns. This has been dialed back for now. 

    There was a reference at the end of the timeline of the virus comparing the deaths to the Vietnam War. This was a liberal talking point by the main stream media meant to arouse anti-Trump sentiment. Why would World parrot this? Why not compare apples to apples? The virus has killed only X% of people who have died of (insert disease) this year. Or the virus has killed as many as, or X times as some disease.

    Concerning Trump, I supported your original position. I didn’t vote for him. My position has changed, not because of who he is but what he has done (mostly).

    Marvin’s column about George Floyd was the final straw. Using ABC, et. al. as supporting evidence for the character of George Floyd? An honest assessment would be that Mr. Floyd had a difficult upbringing. He was a troubled man with a checkered and sometimes violent past. There was some evidence that he was trying to reform his life through faith in Christ. The challenges he faced in this journey were multitude. Progress for men like Mr. Floyd is often fingernail length by fingernail length.

    As for the officer, some accounts report that this officer had his own troubled personal and professional past. Is he representative of the 10 million law enforcement officers?

    Why do we need to be prosecuting the 1700’s, 1800s and 1900s? Marvin seems to believe in ‘systemic racism’ in his ‘century of racism’ paragraph.

    This current article only serves to validate cancelling my subscription.

  • E&
    Posted: Tue, 09/08/2020 10:16 am

    This is another example of why I have mixed feelings about the journalistic scruples of World reporting: this is not a "story" - this is a thinly veiled attempt to accommodate to "woke journalism", that is, "virtue signaling" that every allegation of alleged sexual/social impropriety is worthy of public, published notoriety, if it involves selected public figures or selected political candidates. This story has little to no "redeeming value" - what exactly is Cawthorn's sin? That he tried but failed to kiss girls on dates while he was in a wheelchair (or even not in a wheelchair)? If he wasn't a political candidate, a conservative pro-Trump Republican, a handsome, articulate, 2nd Amendment, pro-life advocate who spoke well at the RNC, would you even care? Really? Don't we already have enough such pandering by the Leftist press that an otherwise fine news organization like World needs to add to this gossip - to say the least? You are whether knowingly or unknowingly aiding the needless and unproven character assassination attempts of Cawthorn's political adversaries. Do you think this isn't obvious to most of your readers?