Aaron Coleman’s ex-girlfriend says abusive behavior, threats continued until Kansas House bid
A Topeka woman said Kansas House candidate Aaron Coleman physically assaulted and threatened to kill her in a roughly two-month relationship ending in January, the most recent in a string of accusations against the teenager.
The allegations, first reported by the national outlet The Intercept, follow Coleman’s admissions that he bullied and blackmailed teenage girls as a 14-year-old.
The revelations caused him to briefly pledge to drop out of the race after his primary victory over state Rep. Stan Frownfelter, D-Kansas City, a move he has since walked back.
His ex-girlfriend, 21-year-old Taylor Passow, said she is coming forward now because she doesn’t believe the behavior brought to light by Coleman’s former classmates was limited to his middle school years.
She said that her experience with Coleman, 19, suggested a pattern of abusive behavior that continued until he was on the precipice of launching his bid for the Statehouse.
Coleman didn’t respond to phone and text messages seeking comment for the story.
Passow said Coleman was initially charming. She said she was impressed by his political ambitions and his friends, saying it was different than her middle-class upbringing.
“All of these things sounded like the opposite of what I have lived so far, and it sounded so good to me,” Passow told The Capital-Journal in a phone interview Tuesday evening. “I decided that was the type of person I was going to be with.”
But she says the tone of their relationship, which started after the pair met through the dating app Tinder, quickly changed.
Early in the relationship, Passow said, Coleman was critical of her weight and would respond to photos of food she posted on social media, asking her why she wasn’t sticking to her diet.
Later, the pair would fight more frequently and would periodically break off their relationship. After one of these splits, Passow texted Coleman that she would hitchhike from her home in Topeka to see him in Kansas City.
Copies of the messages, obtained by The Capital-Journal, originated from a number listed on a 2017 ethics report from Coleman’s previous gubernatorial run.
“I hope you get abducted raped chopped up and have ya pieces scattered around and Burnt in different locations,” Coleman texted in response to Passow's hitchhiking idea. “Read about it. dangerous for women to hitchhike.”
Coleman proceeded to call her “retarded” for considering it and said “they might kill you first and rape your corpse” if she was to follow through.
Later, Passow said, Coleman’s abuse turned physical. At a Dec. 27 vacation at an Airbnb rental, Passow said, Coleman asked her about having a threesome.
She joked that she would break up with him for his birthday so he could have a threesome, at which point Coleman attacked her, she said.
“He sat there for a few seconds, then jumped on me and started choking me. He slapped me three times and said, 'Where the f--- do you think you’re going?’ ” Passow said.
The pair later made up after Passow apologized out of fear he would leave her, she said.
Coleman was also afraid she would get pregnant, Passow said, insisting that he didn’t want to have children because it would ruin his political ambitions.
“One day he even said, 'If you get pregnant, I will have to kill you and the baby,’ ” Passow said, saying she later did have a pregnancy scare and decided not to tell Coleman.
While the pair stopped seeing each other in late January, they have corresponded since, Passow said.
In July, roughly a week before the primary election, Coleman became more apologetic about his past behavior.
The pair texted again last weekend, after Coleman came under increased scrutiny from national media about his interactions with girls in middle school and after Passow began commenting on Coleman’s Facebook posts following his primary victory.
In a series of tweets on Aug. 23, Coleman indicated he would drop out of the race, citing his father’s hospitalization and the negative scrutiny of his younger years.
In texts to Passow, he seemed to contradict that decision, although she said he later sent a partial draft of his withdrawal letter.
“I deeply apologize for my mistakes,” he texted Passow that morning. “I know I wasn’t a perfect boyfriend. But I’m not dropping out of the race. I’ve been honest with the public about everything I’ve done.”
On Tuesday, Coleman reversed course publicly, too, saying he would remain in the race and that removing himself from the ballot would be tantamount to allowing the incumbent, Frownfelter, to win the nomination.
Voters, he said, had reached out to encourage him to remain on the ballot.
“They said that they did not vote for me expecting that I was a perfect person,” Coleman said. “They told me that all of us have sinned, and we all make mistakes.”
State Democrats have roundly criticized Coleman’s past behavior and top House Democrats have backed Frownfelter’s write-in campaign.
Coleman did apologize for his past actions in the statement released Tuesday, saying, “With more self-respect, I would have been a better person to those women in middle school.”
But Passow’s mother, Christina Crompton, said her daughter “wasn’t able to function properly until recently,” in part due to Coleman’s actions during their relationship.
“It was really hard to watch her going from being so excited about life to not wanting to get out of bed and barely functioning and not wanting to talk about it,” she said.