Published Date Written by David CarkhuffSharing images of personal emails and documents such as an I. Gorman Jewelers description of a $19,300 platinum and diamond engagement ring, Maine Rep. Alexander Cornell du Houx, D-Brunswick, on Monday issued a lengthy response to claims about his very public estrangement from Maine Rep. Erin D. Herbig, D-Belfast.
The two Democratic legislators were at the center of a public falling-out that was highlighted by Herbig's request in late April for a temporary protection from abuse order against Cornell du Houx in Belfast District Court.
Cornell du Houx later signed an agreement with Herbig curtailing his proximity to the Belfast Democrat and limiting his access to the state Capitol in Augusta. The agreement was signed, and Herbig dropped her temporary protection order. The agreement with Herbig prohibited Cornell du Houx from entering the city of Belfast for the next 10 years and barred him from visiting the state Capitol unless he gives Capitol Police 48 hours notice. It also barred Cornell du Houx from running for re-election in Brunswick.
But on Monday, Cornell du Houx not only said the agreement was no longer in effect, arguing that Herbig broke it by leaking its contents to the press, but he also said he was considering another run for the Maine Legislature.
Cornell du Houx has officially withdrawn from the race for re-election this November. Based on action taken by Democratic Party officials, Matthea "Mattie" Daughtry, 25, will replace Cornell du Houx on the ballot.
"I decided not to run again, from the very beginning I realized I wanted to take this opportunity to further my career in the Navy and then go to grad school," he said Monday.
But Cornell du Houx on Monday suggested that he might run when a Maine House seat held by Rep. Charles R. Priest, D-Brunswick, comes open in 2014.
Herbig, who declined comment, was represented by her attorney, Chris Maclean of Camden, who said she plans to run for a second term this fall.
"Her plan is to move on with her life and run for re-election and serve the Maine people in the legislature and stay as far away as possible from Alex Cornell du Houx," Maclean said in a Monday interview.
Cornell du Houx said the texts and emails he disseminated reveal "what he could not say because of a secret agreement with Rep. Herbig."
Maclean dismissed the information as evidence that Cornell du Houx had not moved on from the broken relationship, and called the release of his allegations disturbing.
"Their relationship ended many months ago at this point, we had him banned from Belfast and banned him from the Capitol without providing 48 hours notice," Maclean said.
"He was stalking Erin and can't let go of things. That's part of what happens with a stalker, they have to continue holding on and holding on and holding on to the case," Maclean said. "Erin's moved on with her life, the other people including legislators and police officers who witnessed the stalking and other behavior have moved on, but the only person who hasn't moved on is Mr. Cornell du Houx at this point."
Maclean said, "It actually worries me that he can't let go of this relationship."
Cornell du Houx said Monday he wanted to counter claims by Herbig, not stir up fresh animosity.
"She made allegations and those allegations were checked by law enforcement and found not to be credible," he said in an interview.
Claims that Cornell du Houx disputed in his email include:
• "The attachment named 'Erin's texts' is one example of the kind of texts she wrote to me during the time frame that she claimed, 'I have been concerned for my safety for the last several months and am terrified now.' In texts she asked to go to DC on a romantic vacation, wanted to see my new apartment, agreed to attend couples counseling and said she loved me and 'wanted us to move forward together forever more than everything.'"
• "Erin claimed I moved things in our apartment. The reality is that in March I had to get Emily Cain, minority leader in the House, to ask Erin to return my possessions from our apartment in Belfast, as Erin would not respond to my request. Emily Cain also told Erin I wanted my ring back as Erin never returned it. The attached text is a conversation with Emily asking if I finally got my possessions back. Emily: 'Did you get your stuff?' Alex: 'Yes — Thank you, she had Megan bring it to me — my car looks like I'm moving.'"
• "The last attachment named 'broken engagement' is an email to Erin from me asking for the engagement ring back on March 26: 'I can't even believe I am saying this an email but your lack of communication leaves me no other option... I am asking tragically for my ring back and to call off the engagement.' She never returned the ring."
Cornell du Houx emphasized that Maine State Police "did not see the need to interview me," noting that criminal charges were never brought against him.
"The state police ended their investigation before Erin and I signed the agreement. ..." Cornell du Houx wrote in his email to The Daily Sun. "If we had gone to a hearing I would have countered all her allegations in the temporary order. She stated in the order our relationship stared in late 2011. In reality we began seeing each other on May 15, 2011, and were engaged on December 23, 2011. I broke off the engagement on March 26, 2012 because she seriously breached my trust. So, I asked for my ring back, and she turned on me with the temporary order after our lawyers were already talking. I believe she wanted to silence me from talking about that breach."
Cornell du Houx continued, "I was unable to release the texts and emails proving Erin's allegations were false because of our agreement. Now that the agreement was broken I am free to talk about the temporary order. I never had a chance to respond to the temporary order in the media because of the scheduled hearing. I would like to have an opportunity for the truth to be heard."
Maclean acknowledged that Cornell du Houx did not face criminal prosecution.
"It is true that he hasn't at this point been prosecuted, at this point now that it's blown over I doubt that he will be," he said.
"Lack of criminal prosecution has nothing to do with lack of evidence," Maclean added.
"The issue is a fixation that he couldn't let go of that resulted in stalking behavior against Erin," Maclean said.
Cornell du Houx said, "I just wanted to make sure this ends the final saga in what was ultimately a pretty tragic situation all the way around."
He said Herbig has not given the engagement ring back.
"It would be her moral obligation to give the ring back, but sadly she hasn't," he said.
"He needs to bring a lawsuit if he feels she has his belongings," Maclean responded, saying Herbig "has 10 years of protection."