U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford responded to his ex-wife's most recent divorce filing - which includes a request that he face a mental evaluation and undergo parenting classes - by calling the claims "preposterous, crazy and wrong."
"Divorce has many different tragedies and in some cases, unfortunately, unrelenting bitterness seems to be one of them," he said in a statement given to South Carolina news media Wednesday by his congressional office.
"Since the time of the divorce I have tried to do everything in my power to be both a good dad and a former husband," his message continued. "It seems that nothing I can do at this point is enough, appropriate or adequate. The different accusations and requests made are, by their very nature preposterous, crazy, and wrong."
Sanford's comments came a day after ex-wife Jenny Sanford filed a new complaint in their four-year-old divorce case in which she said a "substantial change of circumstances" had developed. She asked for several new actions by the court, including new limits her ex-husband's visitation with their youngest son, age 16.
In his response, Sanford, R-S.C., said he chose to address the filing publicly because some of the issues raised by Jenny Sanford hit on his roles as both a parent and as the 1st Congressional District's elected representative.
"I have avoided responding in these sorts of things as best I could over the past five years and I want to continue to do so," he said. "But when accusations are made that would suggest inadequacy in my role as a father or inadequacy in my professional role as a congressman, they have to be addressed."
He added, "I think anybody who knows me in the Lowcountry knows that these accusations are false." Sanford did not respond to several requests for comment Wednesday from The Post and Courier.
On Tuesday the involved and drawn-out divorce duel between the two saw a new filing in Charleston County Family Court made by Jenny Sanford's legal team. It raised various new allegations and requests for the court to consider. Her filing asks the court to bar both of them from the following:
Exposing their youngest son "overnight to a member of the opposite sex not related to the plaintiff or defendant through blood or marriage." Sanford is engaged to Maria Belen Chapur, the Argentine woman whose affair with Sanford led to the scandal that marked his final years as governor. They have not announced a wedding date.
Making any negative comments about the other in the presence of their youngest son.
Discussing any aspect of this case around their youngest son.
Taking illegal or unprescribed prescription drugs or "excessive amounts of alcohol" while responsible for the care of their youngest son.
Jenny Sanford also is seeking to have a guardian ad litem - a court-appointed official - to look after their youngest son's best interests on the ongoing legal proceedings, and she is seeking to have the case sealed from the public.
Her request to seal the record cited the previous media and public interest in the case, as well as her son's status as a high school sophomore.
A call to one of her attorneys in the new filing, Taylor J. Moore of Mount Pleasant, was not immediately returned Wednesday.
Sanford is running unopposed Nov. 4 for a new term. A hearing on the case is scheduled for Sept. 15 in Charleston.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.
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