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surreal scandal

Former DIT lecturer turned politician admits affair with secretary in bizarre photo shoot

“Fightin’” Joe Morrissey was jailed after claims he had sex with a 17-year-old. Now they plan to get married…

morrissey Joe Morrissey with Myrna Pride, and their son Chase. Courtesy of Joe Morrissey Courtesy of Joe Morrissey

AN AMERICAN POLITICIAN and former law lecturer at Portobello College in Dublin has hit the headlines in the US, for a bizarre photoshoot with his teenage lover and their baby.

Joe Morrissey, from Virginia, was a guest lecturer at the Dublin Institute of Technology, from 2001 to 2003, and taught law at the now defunct Portobello College, from 2001 to 2002.

He returned to the US in 2006, to resume his colourful and controversial political career.

In December, he was accused of having sex with his former receptionist when she was still 17 and under the legal age of consent, as well as possession and distribution of child pornography – for having and sharing nude photographs of her on his phone.

Morrissey, nicknamed “Fightin’ Joe”, denied all these charges, and claimed that a jealous ex-girlfriend had hacked into his phone to send out images of his secretary, local newspaper the Daily Press reports.

He had been an elected member of the Virginia House of Delegates since 2008, but was forced to give up his seat when he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of “contributing to the delinquency of a minor,” and was sent to jail for three months.

Disgraced Lawmaker Joe Morrissey, leaving prison in January. Associated Press Associated Press

While on day release from prison, he campaigned for his re-election, and won.

He resigned again in March, however, in order to run for the Virginia State Senate, but was rejected by the Democratic party, and is now standing as an Independent.

Morrissey’s controversial, globe-trotting career took another bizarre turn recently, when he admitted in theatrical style, that he and his former receptionist – since named as 19-year-old Myrna Pride – had had a child together.

Unlike many politicians caught up sex scandals, Morrissey appears to have taken the bull by the horns, and last week handed a local journalist a photograph of himself, Pride and a baby, dressed in Civil War period costumes.

In a radio interview on Wednesday, Morrissey admitted for the first time that he was the father of the boy, named Chase, who was born just nine weeks ago.

And at a press conference in his law offices in Richmond yesterday, Morrissey and Pride appeared together, smiling at each other and announcing their intention to get married.

I love Myrna. She’s smart, she’s intelligent, she makes me laugh. I think she makes me a better person.

Pride, who referred to her boyfriend as “Mr Morrissey,” affirmed that Chase had been conceived when she was 18 years old, which would prevent any charges being brought against the 57-year-old, who has four children with four different mothers.

Controversy seems to have followed Morrissey throughout his career as a lawyer and politician.

As the commonwealth attorney (public prosecutor) for the city of Richmond, he was jailed in 1991 after getting into a fist-fight with another lawyer outside the courthouse, the Times-Dispatch reports.

In the last 20 years, Morrissey has been charged with bribery, perjury, misuse of public funds, convicted of assault and battery, and accused of violating the terms of his probation, among other offences.

In the early 2000s he was suspended from practising law in both Virginia and federal courts, for three years, and appears to have moved to Enniskerry, Co Wicklow.

In an Irish Times report on 2 February 2002, Morrissey said he was “not proud” of his criminal record and history of assault.

He added, however, that he had been “candid and forthright” with DIT and Portobello College, and “told them everything” about his past, before working as a lecturer in both institutions.

Morrissey also claims to have received an LLM from Trinity College Dublin in 2003, although was unable to corroborate this at the time of publication.

Morrissey subsequently moved to Australia, where he worked as a law lecturer at the University of New South Wales and University of Adelaide.

He applied for a license to practise law in Australia, but was denied, after his troubled legal history became known, the Sydney Morning Herald reported at the time.

In 2006, he returned to Virginia, became a state delegate in 2008, and in 2012, was reinstated as a practising lawyer.

In 2013, he attracted national media attention by brandishing an (unloaded) AK-47 assault rifle in the Virginia State legislature, in order to make a point about gun control, which he supports.

MamaBarracuda / YouTube

This month’s controversial episode appears to be only the latest, and probably not the last, in the strange life and career of Joe Morrissey.

Read: Ex-NY governor tries comeback after sex scandal, hopes for forgiveness>

Read: 7 sex scandals that shocked the political world>

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