Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder's refusal to comment on a report about his alleged ties to a woman described as a former Penthouse magazine Pet is raising questions about his soon-to-be-launched gubernatorial campaign.
A story published this week in the Riverfront Times was based on an interview with a woman identified as Tammy Chapman, who said Kinder was a regular customer when she worked as an “entertainer” at the Diamond Cabaret in Sauget, Ill., in the 1990s. At the time, Kinder was a state senator from Cape Girardeau.
Both Kinder, who is single and never married, and his campaign declined several opportunities Tuesday and Wednesday to publicly comment on the allegations, despite repeated requests from The Star. The Missouri Republican Party also declined to comment on the story, now circulating widely on political websites.
A Republican, Kinder is expected to formally announce his plans to run for governor in September.
The story “certainly makes it harder for a lot of people to take his challenge to the governor seriously,” said University of Missouri political scientist Peverill Squire.
In a Facebook message Wednesday evening, Chapman told The Kansas City Star that that she is “not out after Kinder I did not ask for any of this. I wish to be left alone ”
But in an interview earlier Wednesday with KMOX radio in St. Louis, a woman who identified herself as Chapman said Kinder “courted” her “each time he came in” to Diamond Cabaret.
“He became aggressive with me,” the woman told KMOX. “I would do private dances for him, and he would grab my shoulders and try to press me onto him very, very forcefully.”
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