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Parnell again denies hurting his sons as child-custody case continues

  • Lucy Perkins/WESA
Republican Sean Parnell launched his U.S. Senate campaign on May 11.

Lucy Perkins / WESA

Republican Sean Parnell launched his U.S. Senate campaign on May 11.

(Pittsburgh) – On Tuesday, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sean Parnell again denied hurting his sons in the third and final day of a bitter child custody hearing, in which his estranged wife, Laurie Snell, testified under oath that he physically hurt her and their children when they were together.

When Snell’s attorney presented him with an enlarged photo that she says was taken after he hit the child, showing a welt in the shape of a handprint on a child’s back, he said he did not recognize it.

“That is not a picture of my son,” he said in cross examination.

The court also heard testimony from a woman who has cared for the family for more than a decade, who said she never witnessed any physical abuse.

On Monday afternoon, Parnell described himself as a father who is very involved in his kids’ lives, attending soccer practices, cooking and eating dinner together as a family “every single night” and helping with virtual school during the shutdown early in the pandemic. “I was involved every step of the way, and I had a heck of a lot of fun doing it!” he said.

Parnell told his lawyer on Monday that if he were elected to the U.S. Senate, it would be “very doable” to continue to be involved in his children’s lives, and would not plan to move out of western Pennsylvania.

The child custody hearing is the latest development in a years-long battle. Both parents are seeking primary custody. Parnell said Monday he too filed for primary custody “to protect my family,” but if he wins next year’s election and Snell “is in a better place” he’d be open to a shared arrangement.

Parnell is a decorated Army veteran, author, and works at a mortgage company. He also is a contributor on Fox & Friends, and won the endorsement of former President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race to replace outgoing Republican Pat Toomey. Parnell first ran for office in 2019, hoping to win Democrat Conor Lamb’s seat and represent Allegheny County suburbs and Beaver County. He lost by about 10,000 votes.

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