Tylden Shaeffer is asking Republican voters in Bexar County to support him with their votes and make him their District Attorney. At the same time he is attacking the newly elected Chairwoman of the Bexar County Republican Party and calling for her resignation. In other words, criminal defense attorney Shaeffer is asking the same people who voted overwhelmingly for Cynthia Brehm to support him as he is prosecuting her in the court of public opinion. Therefore, we need to look at her alleged crime, his evidence, and determine if his leadership is worth our investing our support and votes.
Cynthia has now been charged with her husband’s crime and consequently the offense of being married to a man, that plead guilty to a sex crime 20 years ago. She is also charged with the crime of having worked hard to maintain her family, dealing with difficult issues, and working with clergy to assist her husband in repentance and reconciliation to the end that they can continue in their marital union with him supporting her as a wife and political candidate today. Lastly, she is accused of not sharing with the public this painful chapter in her life, which has already been adjudicated in a court of law (with Cynthia as a witness for the prosecution) and reconciled within her own family.
Criminal defense attorney Shaeffer asserts, based on the charges above, that Cynthia “needs to resign immediately,” and he further asserts that she will be unable to provide “honest, ethical leadership.” Shaeffer calls for “all Republican candidates at all levels of the ballot to join . . . [him] in demanding she step aside immediately.” We at the Friends of San Antonio Family Association object counselor! You are wrong on the law, wrong on the ethics and you are providing, at best questionable leadership in your call for Cynthia’s resignation.
Consider the fact that the Texas Constitution prohibits exactly the basis of Shaeffer’s assertion, “No conviction shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture of estate, and the estates of those who destroy their own lives shall descend or vest as in case of natural death (Tex. Const. art. I, § 21).” This prohibition means that one cannot be tried for the crimes of a family member. But this is exactly what aspiring candidate for district attorney Tylden Shaeffer is doing in his charges against Cynthia Brehm. His issue isn’t with a crime that Cynthia actually committed but with a crime her husband was charged with and which has already been fully resolved before a court of law.
This brings us to another legal concept we are all familiar with, namely that of double jeopardy. Double jeopardy refers to the fact that one cannot be tried multiple times for the same offense. Cynthia’s husband’s case has already been fully adjudicated in the court of law. But defense attorney Shaeffer wishes to reopen the case in the court of public opinion not against the accused but against his wife. He is prosecuting her in a manner disallowed in courts of law and in violation of basic legal principles and he ought to know these facts. And, yet, he wants to be the next Bexar Criminal District Attorney.
As to his charge of Cynthia lacking ethics, she has answered this charge stating, “No teacher, no counselor, no pastor, no law enforcement, no military official and no prosecutor has ever said that my actions were inappropriate in how I personally dealt with this situation that involved my family.” She further notes, this “It is a story of repentance, redemption, and restoration.” In other words, Shaeffer somehow finds a woman who maintained her wedding vows, worked through a very painful and difficult situation, and who by the grace of God loved her husband through a process, which resulted in not just her reconciliation with her husband but with her family being reconciled to one another. I guess Shaeffer, would have preferred it if Cynthia had just walked out the door instead of holding fast to her commitments. But in accordance with the dictates of her faith and in trust of her Redeemer she believed in the grace of God for forgiveness of her husband and the strength to reconcile.
As to the assertion that Cynthia had an obligation to disclose this event, perhaps there is room for disagreement. Consider this though, how many of us believe one must be required to relive the most painful chapter in their life over and over in the court of public opinion? Especially, if this chapter was 20 years ago, and related not to your own conduct but to an offense committed by a family member. Are we going to likewise require future candidates to share every instance of date rape, personal sexual abuse, or reveal every family member who has committed any type of offense? Is the new standard of qualification for office in Bexar County for the Republicans that every negative instance in one’s life must be shared in order to run for office? The response of those like Shaeffer, who demonize the victim, is exactly why so many victims of sexual harassment remain silent.
For Cynthia dealing with a personal matter 20 years ago, as a personal matter, Shaeffer would have every candidate on every level of the ballot cast their stones at her. Shaeffer’s ethic is one that denies redemption and punishes a woman who follows the dictates of her faith. Who in their lack of humanity would seek to punish a woman victimized by her husband, who participated in the legal process against him, and who miraculously found the strength to not only to forgive but also to remain and reconcile with him? The answer, Tylden Shaeffer, the candidate for Bexar County DA.
So we have the would-be prosecutor sitting in the seat of judge, jury and executioner. He has dared to offer condemnation to the victim of the crime, who has complied with law enforcement and submitted to the counsel of her clergy. He asserts guilt by association and denies a story of redemption. One wonders what Shaeffer would do before Christ as he wrote in the sand words that led the Pharisees to drop their stones? Would he hold a tight grip on his own rock? Would he toss it at the woman? These are fair questions given that he is now impugning a woman who did nothing wrong but trusted God to restore her marriage and bring that same faith and commitment to serve the Republican Party. This raises questions not only about Shaeffer’s leadership within the Bexar County Republican Party, but also about the compassion he will have for women who likewise find themselves the offended party in a crime. Perhaps he should look at the writing in the sand and drop his stone. That might just be an act of real leadership.