Republican Ohio House candidate Jocelyn Smith says she will take a polygraph test on Thursday in her effort to prove she is telling the truth about her allegations that her opponent, state Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, choked, kissed and fondled her in 2015.
Smith of Fairborn had earlier challenged Perales to take a polygraph test and offered to pay for it. She also is demanding that he resign and leave the race for the Ohio 73rd House seat he has held for three terms. The district includes most of western Greene County including Beavercreek, Fairborn and Bellbrook.
Perales said he had a brief, consensual sexting relationship with Smith in 2015 but denies kissing, choking or touching her intimately. He said she sent him topless photos, which Smith denies, and began threatening him after he began withdrawing from the relationship and stopped sending her sexually explicit texts after about two months in 2015.
“Last week (Perales’) opponent lied and changed her story yet again,” said Daniel Palmer, Perales campaign manager. “He is not going to fall prey to the bullying tactics she has engaged in so freely during the course of this campaign. He is not going to respond to her dubious, continuously evolving claims and gimmicks, and that includes the administering of a polygraph test.”
Ralph Wunder, Smith’s campaign advisor, said the firm Smith hired to do the polygraph test is “state-certified” and “has no ties or prior connection” to her. He provided the name of the firm but said it was not for publication.
Ohio has no licensing requirement for polygraph examiners but the private Ohio Association of Polygraph Examiners does certify those meeting basic requirements, according to its website. Randy Alexander, president of the OAPE, said the company doing Smith’s polygraph test is a member of the OAPE but is not currently certified.
The owner of the company said there is no such thing as “state certification” and he said the company is not certified by OAPE or any private group. The man would not confirm that his company is doing the polygraph and his name is not being used here since Wunder has not publicly released the name of the company.
Smith and Perales face off in the May 8 Republican primary in the predominantly Republican district. The winner will run against Democrat Kim McCarthy of Sugarcreek Twp. in the Nov. 6 General Election.
Polygraph tests, known informally as lie detector tests, are controversial and not admissible in a court of law unless both parties agree, said Tom Hagel, professor emeritus of law at the University of Dayton. That rarely occurs because usually one side or the other has something to lose if the test is admitted, he said.
But Hagel said the larger problem is accuracy of the tests.
“With polygraph tests the science is something like voodoo. It’s been tested over and over and over again and it’s not come close to meeting scientific standards,” Hagel said. “The public puts great stock in them, it seems, since all their information comes from television sets.”
The American Psychological Association says there is “no evidence that any pattern of physiological reactions is unique to deception. An honest person may be nervous when answering truthfully and a dishonest person may be non-anxious,” according to an article on polygraph tests posted on the group’s website.
“If you are a sociopath there is a good chance that you can pass it,” Hagel said. “You don’t sweat if you are lying. It’s just second nature.”
The OAPE website defends the tests, saying, “Statistically, no other techniques or developing techniques come close to the accuracy and validity of polygraph.”
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