Republican U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn was forced to run damage control last week when the Independent reported details from a criminal record in his past.
After the newspaper and The Denver Post revealed that a misdemeanor assault charge resulted from a fracas with his dad, Ernest Glenn, in which Darryl Glenn struck him in the face, Glenn issued a statement saying he grew up in an abusive family.
The lengthy, written statement followed months of Glenn's denials that he'd been criminally charged. He initially told the Post in late May the charge may have involved another person by his name. On June 1, he told the Indy via email, "Not aware of that and was definitely not charged."
On July 8, he doubled down in an interview with the Indy, saying it must have been someone using his identification, such as his half-brother, Cedric, who he said had "a criminal past" and had since died by suicide. His father passed away in 2006.
Glenn's new comments, issued one day after the Indy's and Post's stories on July 26, remain inconsistent with court records and with comments made by his father's widow, Annette Glenn.
For example, the statement said he never appeared in court, while court records show he appeared in court on the charge on Dec. 12, 1983. The records show he and his father, who also was charged, both appeared "pro se," which means without legal counsel, and had a court hearing scheduled for Feb. 2, 1984. Charges of misdemeanor third-degree assault against both were dismissed on Feb. 2.
Colorado statutes define third-degree assault as when a person "knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person or with criminal negligence the person causes bodily injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon."
"The painful truth is that my parents' marriage was violent," Glenn said in the statement. "This was not the first night my father attacked my mother, and maybe more sadly, this wasn't the worst time it happened — not even close."
Glenn is the underdog in the race for the seat now held by Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet. Glenn's campaign war chest contains thousands, while Bennet's contains millions. Glenn first bumped other GOP candidates off the ballot at the state Republican convention in April and, on June 28, he defeated four others in the primary to capture the nomination.
On July 13, the Indy published a cover story delving into Glenn's background, which included his attendance at the mostly white Doherty High School where he served on student council, his graduation from the Air Force Academy, his service of 21 years on active duty and in the reserves, and his elections to seats on the Colorado Springs City Council and El Paso County Board of County Commissioners.
The report also noted the criminal charge and Glenn's denials. A day after the deeper look at the charges was reported by the Indy and the Post, Glenn released the statement.
Among the inconsistencies between his version and the court and police records:
• The police record shows the incident occurred at 9:45 p.m. on Nov. 20, 1983, at Shadowglen Lounge, 4763 Flintridge Drive, which was run by Ernest Glenn and three of his friends. (Glenn retired from the Air Force when Darryl was 12.)
The assault incident came two months after his parents' divorce was final, records show. Ernest Glenn was no longer living with his ex-wife and son at that time and gave police an address of Parkmoor Village.
Three misdemeanor charges filed against Ernest Glenn from the same incident also state it occurred at Shadowglen Lounge.
The police record states Glenn "got into argument and struck victim [Ernest Glenn] in face."
Records of a charge against Ernest Glenn in which Darryl is listed as the victim state, "Subject was hit by other party during domestic."
A report about Ernest's ex-wife as a victim states, "Subject struck party during domestic disturbance." A report of a third charge against Ernest involving a victim whose name is illegible states, "Subject was hit by another during domestic."
Glenn's statement doesn't mention where the incident occurred.
His statement says, "I do not believe I ever hit him." He says he doesn't remember talking to police or signing anything. (The Post reports a handwriting analyst concluded the signature on the police report and on Glenn's political candidacy papers were written by the same person.)
• The police reports show that Ernest Glenn was arrested and issued a summons that night at the lounge, and that Darryl Glenn was arrested and issued a summons the next day at 5:30 p.m. at his house at 2710 Bermuda Circle.
Court records show both appeared in court Dec. 12, during which a court hearing was set for Feb. 2; on Feb. 2 all charges were dropped.
Ernest's charges were dropped "in the interest of justice." Darryl's were dropped because Ernest didn't wish to pursue prosecution.
Two sources familiar with criminal procedure, who didn't want to be named because of who the case involves, say such reasons for dismissal might suggest that authorities believed Ernest Glenn was justified in his actions, indicating that Darryl Glenn was the aggressor.
Glenn's statement says, "I have never appeared in court as a defendant.... I know that a few weeks later my mother and I were called into a meeting in a Judge's chambers. He asked us a few questions and then sent us home. That's the last thing we definitely know. [The charge] was dropped nearly immediately — which is why I never knew about it...."
Glenn's statement also is at odds in some ways with memories of Annette Glenn, his stepmother and his father's widow, who was interviewed by the Independent on July 26 at her apartment off South Murray Boulevard.
• Annette, 61, who married Ernest in April 1984 in Las Vegas, worked for him at the Shadowglen Lounge. At the time of the November 1983 incident, she says, she had moved to Oklahoma and has no knowledge of that incident.
But she told a story of Ernest Glenn smacking his son in the face when he was 13 or 14 years old, because "Darryl was threatening to hit his mom."
"Ernie happened to be in the kitchen," she says. "Darryl went to hit his mother, and Ernie hit him."
Glenn's statement blames the violence in his household on his father.
• She says during Darryl Glenn's Air Force Academy years and after, he visited the couple and they were on good terms. "Darryl used to come and help me at the club," she says. "Him and Darryl always got along. Darryl kept coming back and forth to the house. Then [when he was at the Academy] his cadet friends came for Thanksgiving and stuff."
She says she and Ernest visited with Darryl and his family when his two daughters were born, but the visits then became infrequent. She says she hasn't seen Darryl since Ernest died.
Glenn's statement says that after the November 1983 assault he and his father "barely spoke in the years that followed. With that said, I am deeply grateful that towards the end of his life we were able to reconcile."
Only time will tell how the charge and his denial might impact his campaign, says political consultant Floyd Ciruli of Denver. Before Glenn's disclosure statement, he said a candidate's denying knowledge of the criminal charge when the evidence is overwhelming "just destroys your credibility, and that's one of the most valuable things you have in a campaign."
After Glenn issued the statement, Ciruli said, "Now let's see if Mr. Glenn's effort to deal with it works. If there's no other bad news, he will likely make it [survive the crisis]. But it was a very controversial start.
"His chances of winning are very slight as of today."