another shoe drops

The plot thickens in the Alex Morse college sex scandal

Another shoe has dropped in the Alex Morse college sex scandal.

Morse is the openly gay, four-term Democratic mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts who is currently running for Congress. Last week, he was accused of having sex with students at UMass Amherst, where he is a political science lecturer, as well from other schools in the Five College Consortium, while he was on the campaign trail.

Morse put out a statement this week saying he did hook up with students but he never “took advantage” of anyone and apologized if he made anyone feel uncomfortable. He also called the whole story a politically motivated smear campaign rooted in homophobia and said he has no intention of dropping out of the race.

Now, The Intercept claims it has obtained chats circulated among a group of College Democrats, including one who was angling for a job with Morse’s opponent, Rep. Richard Neal, that suggests a year-long plot to bring down the 31-year-old mayor’s congressional campaign.

Timothy Ennis is the chief strategist for the UMass Amherst College Democrats. In the chats, he and others allegedly discuss plotting an attack on Morse to bolster Ennis’s chances of landing an internship with Neal.

The Intercept reports the students hatched a plot to find Morse’s dating profiles and coax him into saying something incriminating that they could then use to damage his campaign.

Ultimately, the students were unable to dig up any dirt on Morse aside from a random Instagram conversation he had with Andrew Abramson, who now serves as president of the UMass Amherst College Democrats, as well as evidence that Morse once had a Tinder profile.

Still, the group reached out to Politico to try and get the allegations published. After being approached by the reporter, Morse contacted Abramson and apologized if he had made him feel uncomfortable with their chat. Abramson responded by blocking him on the app.

The story has ignited strong opinions from all directions. While many, including the LGBTQ Victory Fund, are siding with Morse, many others are still bothered by the fact that, in a post #MeToo world, he admitted to sleeping with students while he was a lecturer at UMass Amherst, though technically this is not against UMass policy.

The university is currently conducting its own review to see whether there were violations of the federal Title IX sex discrimination law that prohibits harassment behaviors.

Queerty reached out to Morse earlier this week for comment, but we never heard back. We will update this post if we do.

Related: People are deeply divided over whether it was OK for this gay candidate to sleep with students