Massachusetts GOP endorses candidate who allegedly exposed himself to women at the YMCA
(Image via Hanover Police)

The Massachusetts' Republican party has officially endorsed GOP candidate Russell Protentis. There's one problem: Protentis has been charged with open and gross lewdness and annoying a member of the opposite sex after he allegedly exposed himself to a person at a local YMCA, the Boston Herald reports.

Five days before the election, Protentis, who is running against Anthony Amore, has denied the allegations and said he plans to fight the charges, but he does admit to giving to false names to YMCA staff after they confronted him over the incident.

“Yeah, that’s true, because when they accused me, I could see how this thing could go sideways," he said. “In retrospect, that probably wasn’t a smart thing to do, but I hadn’t done anything, and it was a Friday afternoon. If I hadn’t given those fake names, I would have been arrested and spent the weekend at the Plymouth County House of Correction, and I didn’t want to have to be dealing with this thing from a pay phone at the jail.”

YMCA staff called police and showed them the surveillance video, which they posted online with an urgent request for assistance from law-abiding citizens in identifying the suspect.

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“On Tuesday I got a call from someone from my church and he asked me if I knew I was on the police department website," Protentis said.

Hanover Police say on July 15, a 52-year-old woman and her 27-year-old daughter were swimming at the YMCA pool when they spotted an elderly man in the pool and "immediately noticed the man had pulled his penis out of the top of his bathing suit and was blatantly exposing his penis to her and anyone else that might be in the area.”

The woman then went to the YMCA staff and they tracked Protentis down.

“He did not admit to exposing himself but stated to staff ‘this could ruin my career’ and indicated he was running for political office. When asked his name the male party first said it was Thomas Peterson and that he was a member at the Middleborough YMCA and a public official.”

According to the Boston Herald's Howie Carr, Protentis was soon arraigned at Hingham District Court, but apparently "nobody at the state GOP cared, or maybe noticed, because the party has turned into a Jonestown-style cult, only concerned with destroying Anthony Amore for his sin of doing what all the state GOP’s cult leaders have done in the past — sucking up to Gov. Charlie Baker for photos with him and cash from his political committees."

Read the full report over at the Boston Herald.