No charges for man who asked if US senator’s child kidnapped

EASTON, Pa. (AP) — A man who was kicked out of a televised town hall for asking Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey an unsettling question about whether his daughter had been kidnapped won’t face charges, a prosecutor said Monday.

Simon Radecki’s question was inappropriate and offensive but was within the bounds of free speech, District Attorney John Morganelli said, overruling police who initially planned to charge him.

Radecki, a 28-year-old activist, was picked ahead of time to be one of Toomey’s questioners at the Aug. 31 event at a PBS station in Bethlehem. When it was his turn, he thanked Toomey for taking questions but then veered off-script and said: “I know we’ve been here a while. You probably haven’t seen the news. Can you confirm whether or not your daughter Bridget has been kidnapped?”

Police yanked Radecki off stage as he continued, “The reason I ask is because that’s the reality of families that suffer deportation … .”

Nothing happened to Toomey’s daughter, and Toomey called it a “ridiculous question.” The rest of the town hall went on without incident.

Radecki said Monday he was trying to make a point about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. President Donald Trump recently ended the Obama-era program, which shielded from deportation nearly 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, and gave Congress six months to come up with a replacement.

Bethlehem police initially told Radecki he would be charged, but Morganelli told them to hold off while he reviewed the case.

The prosecutor said he considered two charges — disrupting a public meeting and disorderly conduct — and concluded that Radecki broke no law.

“Clearly, Mr. Radecki’s question was stated in a callous manner without regard for what impact it might have on Senator Toomey” or his family, Morganelli said. “Nevertheless, the criminal law cannot be utilized to remedy insensitive conduct.”