"Rising star" on Delaware's religious right arrested for raping boy

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A “rising star” in conservative Republican politics in Delaware has been charged with 113 counts of sexually abusing a boy more than two decades ago, according to Cape Gazette and other local publications.

Eric Bodenweiser, 53, has pleaded not guilty to charges of raping a boy 39 times during a three-year period. The state senate candidate faces 74 charges of second-degree unlawful sexual contact and 39 charges of first-degree unlawful sexual intercourse.

The alleged victim is now 35 years old and lives in Florida, the Gazette reported. In an email to the publication, he said that his charges were "not politically motivated."

The alleged victim has a criminal record in Florida, where he was arrested in 2010 and charged with domestic battery by strangulation and tampering with a state witness.

Bodenweiser is a prominent member of the Delaware Family Council, an anti-gay organization connected to the far-right Focus on the Family.

In his primary race to win the GOP nomination for state senate, Bodenweiser was supported by controversial tea party activist Christine O’Donnell, a former candidate for U.S. Senate. In a video, O’Donnell called the politician a “great man that …has the kind of character that will stand up against corruption, that will do what is right in the face of opposition, in the face of pressure."

Bodenweiser calls himself a "fiscal and social conservative Christian" in a video and told voters if he was elected he would cut taxes and regulations.

Although ballots with Bodenweiser’s name have already been printed, election officials said they would place stickers over his name on Election Day, according to News Journal. Any votes cast towards him will not be counted.

An assistant superintendent for the Indian River School District in Delaware told the Gazette that Bodenweiser was a mentor for children in middle and elementary schools.