RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Sen. Joe Morrissey was convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in December of 2014 after engaging in an intimate relationship with his 17-year-old secretary. Now, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has granted him a simple pardon for the crime.
His secretary at the time, and now wife, Myrna Pride was 17 when Morrissey entered a relationship with her. The state senator’s application for pardon emphasizes that Pride was 17 and a half, insisting that she was mature enough to make her own decisions at that point.
Morrissey and Pride went on to get married and have four children together.
“We feel fully vindicated,” Morrissey told 8News Friday.
Despite the criminal charges, Morrissey was reelected to the House of Delegates while in jail, and later elected to the Virginia Senate.
His petition for simple pardon was submitted to Northam on Nov. 29, 2021, and included affidavits of support from Pride, her mother and grandmother; all expressed support for the relationship in 2014.
The notice that Morrissey’s pardon had been granted was signed by the governor on Jan. 13.
The simple pardon issued by Northam does not remove the crime from Morrissey’s record. Instead, the notice from the governor calls the pardon a “meaningful recognition to Virginians yearning for a second chance.”
While the charge has not seemed to impede on Morrissey’s political ambitions, it has impacted his ability to practice law. He was disbarred for having the relationship with an underage woman and when he tried to regain his law license in 2019, he was denied.
His license was revoked in 2018 after a three-judge panel of Circuit Court judges determined he had violated professional rules of conduct. Morrissey previously was blocked practicing law in 2003.
8News asked Morrissey if his motivation to seek a pardon was based on a desire to try and win back his law license.
“No, it has everything to do with being vindicated,” he said.
“It has everything to do with pursuing justice to the very end. And, if I don’t do I for myself then how can my constituents expect me to do it?” he continued, adding that he will pursue his license “right away.”