A volunteer for Chad Lee's congressional campaign has recanted allegations that he was attacked at his home last week for being a gay Republican.
The volunteer, Kyle Wood, could now face criminal charges that include obstructing police or filing a false police report, Madison Police Capt. Joe Balles said Monday.
"We don't ever want to be in the business of discouraging crime victims to come forward," Balles said. "At the same time, when something like this happens, this is on the extremes."
Balles said the case would be cleared as "unfounded" and sent to the Dane County District Attorney's Office after the follow-up investigation is completed.
Police did not name the man in an updated incident report posted on its website Monday or in the original report posted Wednesday. And Balles didn't identify him in an interview Monday.
But in a statement Thursday, Lee's campaign decried the alleged attack and identified the volunteer as Kyle Wood.
Over the past several days, Wood has given interviews to numerous national and local conservative media outlets, including The Daily Caller, Wisconsin Reporter, Media Trackers, talk show host Vicki McKenna, and columnist Christian Schneider writing in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Wood said in the interviews he was attacked for being a gay man who did not support Lee's opponent, Democratic congressional candidate and state Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, who is also gay.
Wood supplied The Daily Caller with photographs of him after the alleged attack, purportedly showing injuries to his neck, head and face.
On Monday, Media Trackers published on its website threatening text messages allegedly sent by Philip Frank, Pocan's husband, to Wood. Balles said there is "no validity" to the messages, and Media Trackers removed the story from its website.
Wood did not respond to numerous phone and email messages from the State Journal over the past several days, and no one answered at Wood's Madison apartment Monday.
Lee’s campaign issued a news release Monday saying that Wood had been dismissed and the campaign staff was cooperating with the police. The release said the campaign learned Monday that “a deeply troubled volunteer misled police, news outlets and our own team in regards to events that he alleged.”
Pocan's campaign had no immediate statement about the Wood case.
Balles said he did not want to disclose details about why Wood had made the alleged false report and why he recanted but said those details will come out in time.
He said it was important for police to fully investigate the allegations because of the political backdrop to the case. In the meantime, he said, police will finish reports over the next few days and then take it to the Dane County District Attorney's Office to discuss possible charges. In 2008, Wood was arrested for threatening his former boyfriend with a butcher knife. After he pleaded no contest, the charge was lowered to a non-criminal forfeiture for disorderly conduct, and Wood paid a $275 fine.