On December 15, 1873, a 37-year-old Grover Cleveland, who was then a lawyer in Buffalo, New York, raped a woman he was courting.
That’s the claim of a new book, titled A Secret Life: The Lies and Scandals of President Grover Cleveland, will spell out, reported The Daily Beast.
Charles Lachman, the book’s author, said he spent three years investigating Cleveland’s life.
He claims that Cleveland bumped into a widow named Maria Halpin on the street on that night. Cleveland invited her to dinner at a restaurant, which she accepted. He then escorted her back to her room at a boarding house. Then, he raped her.
Afterwards, Cleveland threatened to “ruin” Halpin if she ever complained to the authorities.
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Six weeks later, she became pregnant. On September 14, 1874, she gave birth to a child named Oscar Folsom Cleveland.
During Grover Cleveland’s presidential campaign in 1884, the story of his allegedly illegitimate child with Halpin surfaced. The Cleveland campaign responded that Halpin was involved with several men at the time. When the child was born, Cleveland assumed responsibility (i.e. paid child support) because he was the only bachelor among the men.
The public appears to have accepted Cleveland’s version of what happened and elected him to his first presidential term.
Today, Cleveland is known as the only president to serve two non-consecutive presidential terms. Among political historians, he is well-regarded. He was tough on political corruption, responsible in fiscal matters, supportive of limited government, and believed in a free-market economy.
Interestingly, he was known for his integrity and honesty.
As for his personal life, Cleveland did not marry until after he became president. He wed in the White House to a woman who was 21-years-old at the time. She was the daughter of his friend and he knew her in her childhood.