After an ex-wife of Democratic 1st Congressional District candidate Darren Parry said he lied about regularly paying child support for their seven children, a daughter now is publicly saying that Parry abandoned the family after he had several affairs.
The candidate says the accusations dredge up misdeeds that he thought he had repented of and moved beyond years ago. He adds that he has learned from his mistakes and is a better person and leader now, so he says will remain in the race to replace retiring GOP Rep. Rob Bishop. He faces Republican nominee Blake Moore in the Nov. 3 election.
Hailee Parry, 27, made the public statements in the online comments section attached to The Salt Lake Tribune story about the child support claims. She later verified through Facebook’s Messenger that the comments were from her and declined to add further comment.
“Darren Parry is my dad. When I was 11 years old, [he] had an affair with my best friend’s mom. He had numerous affairs. He left my family and never looked back,” she wrote.
“He never asked to see us and, per the article, was never regular with child support payments. None of his adult children have any sort of relationship with him. We all decided to turn our heads when we found out he was running for Congress, until he blatantly lied.”
She added, “He is not an honest man in any way, shape, or form. We are lucky to have the mom that we do. She fought to be the mom and the dad for all 7 of her kids and continues to do that today. Darren turns his head to his adult children in times of trouble or hardship.
“If he can turn his head to his own children when things get hard, imagine what he would do in Congress,” she wrote. “He is not the kind of man I want in Congress.”
The candidate in an interview acknowledged, “I hurt a lot of people. So I’m just trying to move forward and be a better person from it.”
He said some of his daughter’s assertions are exaggerated. For example, “I tried to have a relationship with them [his children], and I do with my other kids. They are in my life.”
But he said that with Hailee, “I destroyed her life.… When we got divorced, it was a tough time for her. She was young and we were really close. I was her basketball coach. It pretty much destroyed that little girl, and I tried every day to make amends to her.”
He said he has done such things as give her money through the years when she sought it.
“We all make mistakes. And I guess the only good thing about it is: Do we learn from them and are we a better person because of it? Absolutely I’ve learned from it and am a better person because of it,” Darren Parry said.
He added that he’s not the same person he was 15 to 18 years ago.
“I thought I had repented of things and got past things in my life. And I’ve been a way better person, and I’m a stronger person and a stronger leader for it,” he said. “I hope for the rest of my life I’m not judged for what I did maybe 18 years ago.”
Parry added, “This is the only comment I’m going to make on it forever.”
Hailee Parry made her comments after The Tribune wrote a story saying the candidate’s first wife, Michele Parry, disputed comments that the candidate made in a newspaper profile of him.
When The Tribune had asked Darren Parry to explain state court action against him for unpaid child support, he said that resulted from a misunderstanding because he was paying child support directly into a bank account of his ex-wife, not knowing she had set up a procedure in which he was supposed to make payments instead through the Office of Recovery Services.
He said she wrote a letter to clear that up. Michele Parry was upset at that report, and said there had been no misunderstanding and that her ex-husband was sporadic in payments — but said she helped release him from old debts so both could move on with their lives.
Michele Parry declined comment about her daughter’s public comments.
Darren Parry has had two divorces and is in a third marriage. He is the former chairman of the Northwest Band of the Shoshone tribe and stepped down from that post to run for Congress. He says he is still on the tribe’s council and works for it seeking to raise money for an interpretive site at the Bear River Massacre location.
He won the Democratic nomination after defeating Jamie Cheek in the June 30 primary. Voters in the 1st District have not elected a Democrat to the seat since 1978.