Former Casper City Councilwoman Amanda Huckabay, an outspoken advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor battery charge involving her late mother in 2012.
Huckabay’s uncle, David Dewald, discussed the incident Sunday on a Facebook post concerning Huckabay’s resignation. The former councilwoman resigned Friday and said she is planning to move out-of-state. She told the Star-Tribune on Tuesday she regrets the incident with her mother and has since tried to atone for her actions.
In his post, Dewald included a photo of his sister in a hospital bed, and later told a Star-Tribune reporter that Huckabay was a hypocrite for taking part in victim advocacy work while also benefiting from a system that goes easy on domestic abusers.
Court documents filed at the time alleged that Huckabay had assaulted her mother at an Evansville home by pushing her onto a couch before slapping and punching the older woman’s face. The victim was hospitalized for injuries that included bleeding from her head and a swollen eye.
Huckabay told officers she had pushed, slapped and punched her mother, according to the documents.
She received first time offender treatment in the case. After pleading no contest, she successfully completed a year of probation and a Natrona County Circuit Court judge on Oct. 7, 2013, wiped the charge from her record.
Huckabay said Tuesday that she deeply regrets the altercation with her mother.
“I’ve never denied that that incident happened and I’ve always taken responsibly for it,” she said. “We all have things in our past that we aren’t proud of and this is the one thing from my past that I’m not proud of.”
Huckabay was previously a member of the Wyoming Women Warriors, a local group that started last year to empower victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. She said Tuesday that she was no longer associated with the organization. While on the Council, she also met with the police department on multiple occasions to push for improved victims’ services.
Huckabay’s uncle questioned her role as an advocate.
“This stuff with Wyoming Women Warriors is all true,” Dewald said. “The message is strong and the message is good. It just shouldn’t be coming from Amanda.”
In her comments to the Star-Tribune, Huckabay explained that her mother, who has since died, was intoxicated on the night of the incident and accused her of being a poor mother. The former councilwoman was at her mother’s house to discuss an upsetting incident involving Huckabay’s own daughter.
The former councilwoman explained that she struggles with post traumatic stress disorder because she experienced years of sexual and emotional abuse as a child. She said she went into a state of “disassociation” before she attacked her mother.
“She got in my face [and] it triggered me,” she recalled.
Since being arrested that night, Huckabay said she has tried every day to atone for her actions.
“I don’t think that one mistake that I made six years ago after something very bad happened to my daughter negates all the good work that I have tried to do in the time since,” she said.
Huckabay was elected to the City Council in 2016. She said she expected the issue would arise during her campaign for Council but said she was never asked about the incident publicly.
“It’s not something I’ve ever hidden,” she said.
Huckabay said she didn’t think it was hypocritical to advocate for victims given her past.
“I’ve never claimed to be perfect but I am trying to take the trauma of my past and turn it into something positive for other people,” she said.
Three Casper City Council members said Tuesday that they were surprised to learn about the incident.
“It’s news to me,” said Vice Mayor Charlie Powell, adding that he couldn’t comment further at this time.
Given that Huckabay just resigned, Councilman Jesse Morgan said he doubted this would present any serious challenges for the Council. But Morgan said council members might want to discuss how to handle these types of situations going forward.
“For any future candidates it would be nice to know if they have any sort of criminal background,” he said.
Council members will advertise about the open spot on the Council for a few weeks and then pick the new candidate themselves.
Councilwoman Kenyne Humphrey said the incident sounded like a private matter.
“What happens in her personal life is probably her story to tell,” she said.
Huckabay’s emailed resignation letter states that she is moving to St. George, Utah, due to “unforeseen circumstances” with her previous employer and concerns about her daughter being severely bullied.
“This was a very difficult decision for me to leave the political scene in Wyoming, especially since I was recently solicited by the National Libertarian Party to run for State Legislature, which I also declined,” Huckabay said in her email. “I am proud of the work we have accomplished in our time together and I am saddened to leave.”
Political reporter Arno Rosenfeld contributed to this report.