Associated Press Published

Man Accused of Threatening Delegate Who Vilified LGBT Groups

Del. Eric Porterfield, R-Mercer, being sworn-in as a member of the W.Va. House of Delegates. Jan. 4, 2019.

A Virginia man is accused of threatening a GOP member of the West Virginia House of Delegates who called the LGBTQ community a modern day version of the Ku Klux Klan.

News outlets report an arrest warrant has been issued for 49-year-old Jonathan George Benfer. Court records say Benfer called Mercer County Del. Eric Porterfield last month and left a slur-laden message offering to fight him.

A criminal complaint quotes Benfer as identifying as LGBTQ and saying Porterfield’s comments contribute to suicide rates. Capitol police say the call came days after the Republican minister called LGBTQ groups “socialists” and “discriminatory bigots.” His comments were denounced by local and state lawmakers.

Benfer is charged with intimidating a public official and making obscene, harassing or threatening communications.