Thomas J. Sheeran
Updated at 1:55 p.m.
CLEVELAND: A Republican who unsuccessfully ran for Congress last year pleaded not guilty Tuesday to sex-related criminal charges.
Thomas Ganley, 68, of Brecksville, stood silently before a judge as his attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf during arraignment in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.
Other people awaiting arraignment gawked at the spectacle, with TV crews crowding the front of the courtroom.
Ganley, dressed in a dark suit with an American flag pin on his lapel, left court without commenting and was released after posting $25,000 bond.
He has been charged with three counts of gross sexual imposition and one count each of kidnapping, abduction, soliciting and menacing by stalking.
He allegedly groped and solicited sex from a 37-year-old woman who offered to volunteer for his campaign.
His attorney, Steve Dever, said after the arraignment that the allegations had damaged Ganley's business reputation and harmed him politically.
"I think there are severe consequences that resulted from these accusations and the timing of them, yes, it cost him - I can't say for sure that it cost him the election but it severely harmed his reputation," he said.
Dever repeated Ganley's contention that he was a victim of political extortion amid the campaign. "This case was always about money, so we look forward to our day in court," Dever said.
Attorneys for Ganley and the woman tried to reach an out-of-court settlement before her civil suit was filed.
Ganley, who owns a car dealership, has become a familiar face in northeast Ohio where his TV ads have aired over the years.
The allegations emerged in a civil suit filed weeks before the congressional election he lost to incumbent Democrat Betty Sutton.
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