'Grabbed her by the throat': Unsealed court docs allege Stewart Rhodes created 'constant fear' at home
Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes — a key figure in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol — beat his kids, used the toilet in their presence, encouraged them to use drugs and harbored an “obsession with sex (that) led him to incredibly inappropriate behavior around the children,” newly released court filings obtained by Raw Story allege.
A 2018 affidavit, filed by Rhodes’ ex-wife, Tasha Adams, as part of her divorce proceedings, alleged that Rhodes’ emotional and physical abuse of their children included punching and choking them.
The affidavit — which Rhodes said in his own court filing “twisted over 23 years of facts” — also alleges that Rhodes’ abuse included the family’s pets.
“Stewart has also kicked, hit, and punched the dogs in front of the children so many times,” the affidavit said. “One time he racked his pistols and almost shot our puppy in front of all the children.”
The allegations against Rhodes included gross violations of his children’s privacy.
“When he still lived with us Stewart insisted on going into the bathroom and using the toilet while the girls were showering,” the document states. “(One of his daughters) noticed a direct correlation between his insistence on using the bathroom while the girls were showering and his mood.
“The angrier he was, the more likely he was to force the door open or to order them not to use the lock I had installed on the bathroom door,” the document continues. “Eventually, he broke the lock. He would tell them to just close the curtain while he sat down.”
The document also cited another allegation about Rhodes’ behavior involving one of his daughters.
“Stewart told her all about how he used to get paid (during our marriage) to have sex with other men's wives while they watched,” the affidavit states. “He described what they paid him to do, how he found partners using Craigslist, and that it was all basically a charitable act because some of these men were disabled.”
One alleged incident involved Rhodes watching pornography at the kitchen table with the volume turned up and his children present.
“The older children said they would turn up the TV to drown out the noise so the little ones couldn't hear,” the document says.
Rhodes answered the affidavit by accusing Adams of fomenting parental alienation.
“Tasha and her attorney twisted over 23 years of facts in an attempt to accomplish Tasha's true goal of keeping the children from me,” Rhodes’ court filing said. “There are simply no grounds to restrict my contact with the children other than Tasha apparently now wants to change a lifestyle and parenting methodology she actively participated in for over 20 years. That is neither the basis of an emergency nor grounds to withhold me from the children.”
‘Grabbed her by the throat’
Rhodes was convicted in November of seditious conspiracy against the United States and other offenses related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Earlier this month, prosecutors asked for a 25-year prison sentence.
“Rhodes used his powers of persuasion and his platform as leader of the Oath Keepers to radicalize more than 20 other American citizens to oppose by force the authority of the government of the United States,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “Those who have studied Rhodes and who know him best suggest that such behavior is completely in character and unlikely to change.”
Rhodes’ defense team portrayed him as a loyal follower of former President Donald Trump who was ready to follow orders from the president to help overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Donald Trump, Stewart RhodesStewart Rhodes attempted to communicate with then-President Donald Trump ahead of the Jan.6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, although there's no evidence that the two men ever connected. (Rhodes picture by Nicholas Kamm for AFP, Trump by Chandan Khanna for AFP)
Rhodes also said that he would have killed then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to a recording presented at trial.
Raw Story obtained Adams’ affidavit and other divorce documents from a source, not from the Lincoln County (Montana) District Court, where the documents were filed.
A court clerk confirmed Tuesday that the documents were unsealed but could not immediately provide certified copies.
After a court session Monday afternoon, Adams and her oldest son Dakota recorded a video that was posted on Twitter.
“I’m divorced,” Adams said. “My case has been unsealed. … And we get to talk about things that happened in the divorce. … Stewart did not show up to this. There was an open Zoom. … My lawyer is an incredible badass and everything is wonderful.”
Adams’ allegations of physical abuse includes the description of an incident where Rhodes swung one of their daughters around by her hair because her room was messy.
Another allegation involved Rhodes’ daughter, then 14: “Stewart grabbed her by the throat and choked her. He pulled back his opposite fist to punch her in the face but my son yelled from across the yard and Stewart let go, so she ran into the house.”
The document alleges that the oldest child, son Dakota, endured much of the abuse.
“The worst time was probably when he was 13,” Stewart’s ex-wife said in the court document. “I had left the room and Stewart punched him in the head so hard that he was dizzy and sick afterwards, fell on his knees, and couldn't see in full color for two days. I walked in on the scene, saw Dakota falling to his knees.”
Rhodes, the document alleges, also referred to his children as a “f—--- lazy little bitch,” “retarded” and “stupid.”
The document said he routinely pitted the children against each other in “stick fighting,” leaving them bruised.
“Stewart’s world view is that we are always under attack and need to be prepared to defend ourselves,” the affidavit says. “He continually tells the children about rape and murder in detail far too graphic for their ages, telling them about the mechanics of rape and how little children are often kidnapped and tortured and chopped up. He keeps the children in constant fear of rape and murder as a control tactic.”
The document said Rhodes, a Yale Law School graduate, did “training scenarios” with the older daughters where he did a mock attack and they had to fight him off.
“When they got to the point where they couldn’t fight him anymore,’ the document alleges, “he would yell that they had just been raped and murdered.”
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