Former Sen. Martha McSally Speaks Out About Stranger Groping Her During a Jog: 'You Picked the Wrong Target'

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A 25-year-old suspect is in custody on a sexual abuse charge after allegedly following and assaulting the former Arizona senator while she was running on Wednesday

<p>Christian Petersen/Getty</p> Then-Arizona Sen. Martha McSally at a 2020 campaign event

Christian Petersen/Getty

Then-Arizona Sen. Martha McSally at a 2020 campaign event

A Nebraska man accused of groping former U.S. Sen. Martha McSally is now in custody, ending a two-day search for her alleged assailant.

Dominic Henton, 25, was apprehended by Omaha authorities early Friday morning and will be extradited to the neighboring town of Council Buffs, Iowa, to face one count of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.

In a video posted to Facebook on Wednesday afternoon, McSally, 57, revealed that she had just been sexually assaulted while running through River's Edge Park in Council Bluffs. She was passing through the area for a speaking engagement in Omaha.

Related: Sen. Martha McSally Says She Was Raped in the Air Force, Where She Was a Groundbreaking Fighter Pilot

<p>Council Bluffs Police Department</p> A man identified by authorities as Dominic Henton is seen following former Sen. Martha McSally before an alleged sexual assault in Council Bluffs, Iowa

Council Bluffs Police Department

A man identified by authorities as Dominic Henton is seen following former Sen. Martha McSally before an alleged sexual assault in Council Bluffs, Iowa

Explaining the incident and acknowledging that she was "still in an adrenaline state," McSally said, "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."

"I then chased him down," she continued. "I said a lot of swear words in this moment. I was in a fight, flight of freeze, and I chose to fight."

McSally added that she threw her water bottle at the man as he ran off, and called 911 while he hid in nearby brush. Authorities were unable to locate the suspect when they arrived at the scene.

Related: Paul Pelosi Attack Suspect David DePape Begins Federal Trial with Threat of Life in Prison

<p>Council Bluffs Police Department</p> The suspect in former Sen. Martha McSally's assault case, identified by police as Dominic Henton

Council Bluffs Police Department

The suspect in former Sen. Martha McSally's assault case, identified by police as Dominic Henton

By Thursday evening, the Council Bluffs Police Department had released surveillance photos of the suspect in the moments before and after the alleged assault, and announced that a warrant was out for Henton's arrest.

<p>Christian Petersen/Getty</p>

Christian Petersen/Getty

After authorities identified Henton as the suspect, McSally took to social media to address him directly, writing, "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. You picked the wrong target."

Related: AOC Says Past Sexual Assault Was 'Pivotal in the Trajectory That Led Me to Run for Office'

Matt York/AP/REX/Shutterstock Martha McSally, former U.S. representative and senator
Matt York/AP/REX/Shutterstock Martha McSally, former U.S. representative and senator

McSally — a Republican who represented Arizona in the Senate from 2019-2020 and spent four years in the House before that — has spoken publicly before about her history with sexual abuse.

At a 2019 congressional hearing, she disclosed that she was raped by a superior officer while serving in the Air Force, where she was the first female fighter pilot to see combat.

“Unlike so many brave survivors, I didn’t report being sexually assaulted,” she said. “Like so many women and men, I didn’t trust the system at the time. I blamed myself. I was ashamed and confused. And I thought I was strong but felt powerless. The perpetrators abused their position of power in profound ways — and in one case I was preyed upon and then raped by a superior officer.”

McSally served in the Air Force from 1988 to 2010 and retired as a colonel, explaining during the hearing that it was only “later in my career, as the military grappled with [sexual abuse] scandals and their wholly inadequate responses,” that she “felt the need to let some people know I, too, was a survivor,” according to the Arizona Republic.

Related: Huma Abedin Says She Was Sexually Assaulted by a U.S. Senator but 'Buried the Incident' for Years

McSally had previously been candid about surviving sexual abuse in high school, telling the Wall Street Journal in 2018 that, as a teen, she was emotionally manipulated into sex by a running coach two decades her senior.

“These experiences don’t define me, but only deepened and strengthened my resolve to not be powerless, and dedicate my life to fight for others, especially girls, women and the vulnerable,” she said in a statement.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.

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