Former Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., whose sexuality was questioned publicly by federal investigators following his 2016 indictment over alleged misuse of political and government funds, came out publicly Thursday in posts on his personal website and Instagram account.
Schock writes that he was raised in the Apostolic Christian Church, first in Minnesota and then in Peoria, and says he had lived “a pretty sheltered life” before he arrived in Washington, D.C. in 2009 as the youngest member of Congress. He details his struggles coming to terms with his identity as a gay man, and said he was prepared to come out to his family after “four years of legal hell finally ended this past March.”
When he came out to his family, Schock says his news met a cold reception.
“What I had to share was unwelcome news to every single person in my family, out of the blue in some cases, and was met with sadness, disappointment, and unsympathetic citations to Scripture,” he wrote.
Schock had previously publicly denied that he was gay. Questions about his sexual identity played a central role in the long-running criminal investigation into allegations that he used campaign and public funds improperly for cars, mileage reimbursements, interior decorating, a charter plane flight to a Bears game and sports tickets he resold for profit.
In 2017, Schock’s attorneys accused federal investigators of prosecutorial misconduct on a variety of grounds, including “repeatedly ask[ing] irrelevant and highly invasive questions about Mr. Schock’s sexual orientation and relationships.” Schock struck a deal in early March 2019 that ended the years-long case.
He wrote that the conclusion of that “legal hell” allowed him to focus on “facing my truth with those closest to me.” He says he came out publicly Thursday after spending the past year “working through a list of people who I felt should finally hear the news directly from me before I made a public statement.”