Councillor’s FB outrage

Seve Gomez-Aspron
Seve Gomez-Aspron
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A St Helens councillor has been ordered to write a letter of apology to a constituent after insulting her in an online message.

Seve Gomez-Aspron (pictured) abbreviated the words “see you next Tuesday” to form a grossly offensive swear word in a Facebook exchange with the teenage complainant.

The 29-year-old, a Labour councillor for Newton since May 2012, appeared before St Helens Council’s standards committee last week and has been ordered to write a letter of apology.

The committee heard how, on or around September 2, 2014, the complainant, a 19-year-old woman, posted a question on the public Newton Network Facebook site to ask whether a dog-chipping event was for other animals too - such as cats.

Coun Gomez-Aspron, who had taken part in a light-hearted ice bucket challenge fundraiser in front of the Town Hall just 24 hours earlier, explained that the event was for dogs only.

But a Facebook conversation involving the complainant, Coun Gomez-Aspron - the council’s cabinet member for environment and neighbourhoods - and some of his relatives then ensued.

During the conversation he invited the complainant to his next councillor’s surgery by abbreviating the words “see you next Tuesday” to form a derogatory euphemism familiar with social media users.

The complainant, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of victimisation, subsequently reported to the council that she found the term both “shocking and disgusting”.

She also alleged that Coun Gomez-Aspron’s relatives made “nasty and inappropriate comments” about her and told him he should not be using language like that in his position as a councillor.

In a subsequent interview, Coun Gomez-Aspron, a chemistry teacher, denied the allegation that he “went off on one” and denied that the “see you next Tuesday” comment was intended to offend the complainant in any way.

He added that comments posted on Facebook could be misinterpreted.

The standards committee found Coun Gomez-Aspron guilty of breaching the code of conduct by failing to treat someone with respect and conducting himself in a manner contrary to the council’s duty to promote high standards of conduct.

He has been ordered to write a letter of apology to the victim.

It’s not the first time a serving St Helens councillor has got themselves in hot water via Facebook either.

In 2009 then-Lib Dem councillor David Crowther remarked that it was “a great shame” Rainhill and Parr, where Mike Doyle and Ken Pinder stood before their deaths sparked by-elections, were not “target seats” for his party.

Coun Gomez-Aspron was unavailable for comment