Rhode Island GOP representative who made pedophile comment removed from committee

Republican state Rep. Robert Quattrocchi. (Capitol TV)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — A Rhode Island Republican state lawmaker who asked a Democratic colleague if she was “a pedophile” during a committee meeting was removed from that committee Thursday.

House Speaker Joe Shekarchi removed Rep. Robert Quattrocchi from the House State Government and Elections Committee at the start of the session Thursday through a communication.

“Representative Quattrocchi’s statements to Representative Kislak during the March 17 hearing are not in keeping with the decorum or the integrity of this body. Use of suggestive and offensive language and the disparagement of an esteemed colleague will not be tolerated in this chamber,” the communication read in part.

The removal comes after Quattrocchi had an exchange with Representative Rebecca Kislak over the equity impact statement bill Friday where Quattrocchi asked Kislak, “Are you a pedophile?”

For the speaker’s options, the removal was the least severe option and is not unprecedented. Last year, former Democratic State Rep. Carlos Tobon was removed from the House Finance Committee last year.

Quattrocchi will also remain on the other two committees he is assigned.

House Republican Leader Michael Chippendale clapped back after the decision, saying in part Shekarchi “acted under pressure from the mob.”

“We are a parliamentary body, which is often an adversarial system, and if ‘perceived insult’ is now the standard by which all members are judged, disciplined, then we have failed to honor one of the fundamental tenets of our republic-due process, we have failed common sense, and we have failed the people we represent,” Chippendale said in a statement.

Both Kislak and Quattrocchi addressed the matter on the House floor Thursday.

Kislak thanked everyone for their support and said now is a time for everyone to come together.

“Our constituents expect us to treat each other and them will respect and that’s how we can and should work to do the people’s business. It’s what our democracy requires and what our constituents expect,” she said.

Quattrocchi also addressed the matter, saying he has received “disgusting” voicemails and emails following the events of Friday’s hearing.

“If God put me here to be a lightning rod, then so be it. I won’t bend a knee to a man or woman. I will bend my knee to God and when my time is done, I’ll accept God’s judgement. That is the only judgement I care about,” he said.

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