Former Senator Martha McSally ‘fought off’ an attempted attacker (Picture: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
A man has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting former Arizona Senator Martha McSally, police said.
McSally, who served in the Senate from January 2019 to December 2020, said she ‘fought off’ an attacker who tried to grope her on a pedestrian bridge in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Around 10.53am on Wednesday, police in the western Iowa city were dispatched to River’s Edge Park after reports of an assault. They arrived to find the victim was the former senator.
‘A man came up behind me and he engulfed me in a bear hug and he molested and fondled me until I fought him off,’ McSally said.
Security camera footage shows the alleged attacker approaching McSally from behind on a pedestrian bridge (Picture: Council Bluffs Police Department)
The attacker approaches McSally on her morning jog (Picture: Council Bluffs Police Department)
‘McSally fought off the attacker and chased him into a dense area of brush near the I-480 bridge,’ the Council Bluffs Police Department said.
‘I said a lot of swear words in this moment,’ McSally added. ‘I was in a fight, flight, or freeze. And I chose to fight.’
The former senator lost sight of the attacker before police could arrive, and he was unable to be located.
McSally said she continued on with her day after the attack, attending a round table and dinner hosted by a women’s entrepreneurship group.
Police release a photo of suspected attacker Dominic Henton (Picture: Council Bluffs Police Department)
However, McSally said she later said she began to feel ‘sorrow’ in the days following the attack, which ‘tapped into a nerve of other sexual abuse and assault that I’ve been through in the past.’
McSally previously testified at a 2019 hearing of the Senate Armed Forces Subcommittee that she had been raped by a superior officer during her 22-year career in the US Air Force.
On Thursday, police identified Dominic Henton, 25, as the suspected attacker.
‘Dominic Henton, like I screamed at you yesterday (with profanity), you will not get away with this or try to harm and violate another woman,’ McSally wrote in a post on social media. ‘You picked the wrong target.’
McSally served in the senate from 2019-2020 after the death of Senator John McCain (Picture: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images)
Police said Henton was believed to be ‘transient’ and traveled between both the Iowa and Nebraska sides of the Missouri River.
He was eventually located around 3.00am on Friday morning by police in Omaha, Nebraska. He is currently being extradited back to Iowa to face charges of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.
McSally became famous for being the first American woman to fly combat missions during Operation Southern Watch in Iraq and Kuwait in the 1990s. She later became the first woman to command a fighter squadron.
McSally previously represented northeastern Arizona in the House of Representatives from 2015 through 2019.
She was appointed by former Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to replace Senator John McCain after his death.
McSally lost reelection to her Democratic opponent, Senator Mark Kelly, in 2020.
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