Rick Perry: 'Righteous' fossil fuels help prevent sexual assaults
Energy Sec. Rick Perry during a House subcommittee hearing on Oct. 12 (image via screengrab).

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said on Thursday that bringing fossil fuels to the developing world will prevent sexual assaults because rapes are less difficult in the dark.

The Hill said that Perry was addressing a morning panel discussion hosted by Axios.com founder Jim VandeHei and MSNBC's Chuck Todd when he made the remarks in reference to a recent trip to Africa.

Perry -- the former Republican governor of Texas and erstwhile presidential candidate -- told Todd and VandeHei that a young girl he met in a remote African village uses a fire that emanates toxic smoke to read by.

"But also from the standpoint of sexual assault,” Perry said. “When the lights are on, when you have light that shines the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts.”

He went on, "So, from the standpoint of how you really affect people's lives, fossil fuels is going to play a role in that. I happen to think it's going to be a positive role."

Perry was recently linked to Whitefish Energy, the tiny firm that was awarded a $300 million contract to restore electricity to the island of Puerto Rico. Whitefish has since been forced off the job after the company's "shocking" contract leaked to the media.