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Congressional candidate who made creepy remarks about McKayla Maroney loses election

Asher Fair
SENIOR ANALYST
News
257   //    27 Jun 2018, 15:08 IST

The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children's 2018 Spring Luncheon
McKayla Maroney at The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children's 2018 Spring Luncheon on Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Suraj Patel, the 34-year-old who made inappropriate remarks about former Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney in 2012, ran against 72-year-old Carolyn Maloney in the New York 12th Congressional District Democratic Primary Election, which was held on Tuesday, June 26.

Maloney, who was running for a 14th term as the district's representative, won the election handily over the hotel executive and former advance staffer for former president Barack Obama's presidential campaigns who teaches business ethics at New York University despite the fact that many people believed that the race would be much closer.

With 563 (98.95%) of the 569 precincts in the district, which includes the east side of Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn and Queens, reporting, Maloney had received 24,223 (58.8%) of the 41,218 votes, while Patel had received just 16,995 (41.2%) of them, giving Maloney a 7,228-vote, 17.6-percent victory.

It is no secret that Patel's campaign was littered with questionable occurrences regarding his character, even to the point where it almost seems like he was trying to lose the election. It is also no secret that his past in general has been littered with questionable occurrences as well.

However, the one occurrence that stands out is, in fact, the time Patel made inappropriate remarks about the then 16-year-old gymnast.

In August of 2012, Maroney had just competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics as a member of the "Fierce Five", the United States women's gymnastics team. She won a gold medal as a member of the team, and she won a silver medal for her performance in the women's vault final in a stunning upset after she failed to land her dismount in her second Amanar vault.

This resulted in Maroney making her "not impressed" face on the podium, which became a viral meme. Here is a picture of that moment.

Olympics Day 9 - Gymnastics - Artistic
McKayla Maroney is "not impressed" after winning the silver medal in the women's vault final in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England

After the Olympics, Maroney and Patel met one another, and Patel posted a picture on Facebook and Instagram of the two meeting. The picture he posted contains him and Maroney side by side, and its caption is as follows, according to New York Post.

"We went to TopShop. I bought a promise ring. Then they tried to arrest me..."

Patel then joked about the situation on Facebook with a girlfriend.

“I told her she should come to New York because we have a top shop there on Broadway, haha, that may have crossed the creepy line by a little."

He proceeded to add the following remarks.

“If this happens with McKayla Maroney...you can’t fault me, you know?...Sorry...you knew the deal.”

Patel's friend responded by saying what everyone else was thinking.

"She's only 16!"

Patel then posted a link to an article featuring images of Maroney. He added the following remark to his post.

"I love this one because this is how I feel...She's so jacked, btw"

While any comments such as these made about an underage girl by a man in his late 20s are certainly inappropriate and should not be ignored, the fact that Patel made them about Maroney and the fact that they resurfaced when they did certainly did not help his case.

Maroney revealed last October that she was sexually assaulted by 54-year-old disgraced former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University physician Larry Nassar, who is currently serving the first of three lengthy prison sentences that he was given in December, January and February.

When she did so, Maroney became the most high-profile gymnast to reveal that Nassar had sexually assaulted her, and she did so despite the fact that USA Gymnastics previously forced her to enter a non-disclosure agreement so that she would keep quiet about what happened to her. They paid her $1.25 million to enter this agreement.

In January during the seven-day sentencing hearing in Ingham County, Michigan that resulted in Nassar being sentenced to between 40 and 175 years in state prison on seven sexual assault charges in addition to the 60 years in federal prison that he was sentenced to on three child pornography charges in December, Maroney's victim impact statement was read on her behalf by Michigan State Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis.

Nassar was sentenced to between an additional 40 and 125 years in state prison on three more sexual assault charges following a three-day sentencing hearing in Eaton County, Michigan in February.

The fact that Patel's inappropriate comments about Maroney resurfaced not even five months after she revealed that she was sexually assaulted by Nassar and not even two months after her victim impact statement was read in court magnified the spotlight that was placed on these comments, which only could have harmed Patel's chances to defeat Maloney in the primary election.

At the time when Patel's comments resurfaced, Maroney had not yet spoken publicly about the sexual assault that she was forced to endure at the hands of Nassar. She ended up doing so for the first time during a luncheon for the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children at The Pierre hotel in New York, New York on Tuesday, April 17.

Maroney was also interviewed for the hourlong Dateline NBC special called "Silent No More", which pertained solely to the Nassar scandal and aired on NBC on Sunday, April 22.

Whether or not the fact that Patel's inappropriate comments about Maroney resurfaced from 2012 was the reason that he lost the primary election to Maloney by 17.6 percent is unknown. However, these comments certainly had somewhat of an impact on the results of this election based on what people have said on social media ever since they resurfaced back in March.

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