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Iowa senator Joni Ernst has revealed she was raped in college by someone she knew after denying that she cheated on her husband with one of her own soldiers while deployed in the Middle East. 
The Republican politician broke down in tears while fielding questions about her bitter divorce from her husband Gail Ernst, 65, while speaking at a town hall meeting in Cedar Falls on Wednesday. 
In an interview with Bloomberg News published Wednesday evening she said she had been raped while at Iowa State University by a man she was a relationship with. 
He is said to have told her he would kill himself if she broke up with him and she did not report the matter to the police. 
Ernst said she did call the campus sexual assault counseling center over the incident and later volunteered there without disclosing she was a victim.
She said: 'I was embarrassed. I didn't know how to explain it. I was so humiliated. And I'm a private person, when it comes to those things. 
Ernst, who did not name her attacker, said she also told Gail about the rape. 
She added: 'I didn't want to share it with anybody, and in the era of hashtag-MeToo survivors, I always believed that every person is different and they will confront their demons when they're ready.'
The 48-year-old had earlier said she didn't cheat on her husband and wouldn't because she took her job serving as a company commander for the National Guard in Kuwait in 2003 'very, very seriously', reported the Des Moines Register.  
She added: 'I care about all of my soldiers. Many of them refer to me as ''Mom.'' So no, the allegation is not true.' 
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst denied claims on Wednesday made by her husband Gail Ernst in divorce papers that she cheated on him with one of her soldiers while she served in Kuwait in 2003 
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst denied claims on Wednesday made by her husband Gail Ernst in divorce papers that she cheated on him with one of her soldiers while she served in Kuwait in 2003 
In uniform: Jodi Ernst (center) is seen during training at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. She left the Iowa National Guard with the rank of lieutenant colonel
In uniform: Jodi Ernst (center) is seen during training at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. She left the Iowa National Guard with the rank of lieutenant colonel
Happier Times: The 48-year-old said she didn't cheat on Gail and wouldn't because she took her job serving as a company commander for the National Guard in Kuwait in 2003 'very, very seriously'
Happier Times: The 48-year-old said she didn't cheat on Gail and wouldn't because she took her job serving as a company commander for the National Guard in Kuwait in 2003 'very, very seriously'
Gail filed for divorce last summer and in unsealed court papers that were filed in October 2018, Gail claims Joni admitted to having a sexual affair with one of her soldiers after discovering emails between the two.  
At the town hall meeting, Joni described herself as a 'survivor', claiming in her own affidavit submitted to court that Gail had become physically violent with her after confronting him about his 'special relationship' with their daughter's babysitter. 
The politician said: 'I am a survivor and I fully believe that our survivors have the right to keep their stories to themselves if they don't want to share those stories or are not ready to share those stories and unfortunately I have been forced to share my story.' 
She voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after Christine Blasey Ford accused him of sexual assault. 
But Trump ally Joni told Bloomberg: 'I do believe she experienced trauma, but the evidence and witnesses presented by her contradicted her story. I don't believe Justice Kavanaugh was the source of her trauma. 
'It's outrageous to suggest that anyone who has been the victim of sexual assault should therefore be a Hillary Clinton supporter.' 
Joni said the reporting on the unsealed court papers caught her off guard. A judge has since resealed them at the Ernsts' request.
In court papers, both Joni and Gail list allegations against the other as they fight over access to property, temporary alimony and attorney fees.
Gail blasted his estranged wife in attempt to remove her from their family home in Red Oak, Iowa, citing 'bizarre behavior' where the politician 'walked around the house nude, laid out nude on the back patio, and attempted to crawl into bed naked with him at night'.  
Joni hit back at Gail in her own affidavit, claiming he was physically violent with her and that he had at least three affairs during their 25-year marriage, including a bank teller, their daughter's babysitter and his 'long-term girlfriend' Carla Rickert.  
Ernst has submitted an emergency motion to the divorce court to have the case sealed.
In court papers filed to Iowa District Court for Montgomery County on October 17, 2018, Gail requested temporary alimony and lawyer fees from Joni, citing his gross income of $5,785.99 per month versus Joni's income of $14,500 per month.
He also requested that the court prohibit Joni from entering their Red Oak, IA, home where he lives, unless she had been given notice and permission from him. 
Military career: Joni Ernst spent a career in the Iowa National Guard and was deployed to Kuwait in 2003 and 2004 for 12 months. Her husband accuses her of cheating with a soldier while she was in the Middle East
Military career: Joni Ernst spent a career in the Iowa National Guard and was deployed to Kuwait in 2003 and 2004 for 12 months. Her husband accuses her of cheating with a soldier while she was in the Middle East
Military career: Joni Ernst spent a career in the Iowa National Guard and was deployed to Kuwait in 2003 and 2004 for 12 months. Her husband accuses her of cheating with a soldier while she was in the Middle East
At the town hall meeting, Joni described herself as a 'survivor', claiming in her own affidavit that Gail had become physically violent with her after confronting him about his 'special relationship' with their daughter's babysitter
At the town hall meeting, Joni described herself as a 'survivor', claiming in her own affidavit that Gail had become physically violent with her after confronting him about his 'special relationship' with their daughter's babysitter
Gail claims that he originally attended to allow Joni to stay in the house after he filed for divorce because he believed they 'could be civil to each other'.
The agreement was for Joni to stay in 'a guest bedroom and use the guest bathroom when she came to Red Oak. That didn't work out very well because she began to exhibit very bizarre behavior,' court papers from Gail state.  
Gail then lists the alleged behavior, claiming Joni 'has walked around the house nude; laid out nude on the back patio; has attempted to crawl into bed naked with me at night. She insists on using my bathroom to shower.' 
The former military man denies Joni's claims of cheating, which were made in her own affidavit filed on October 16, writing he 'never even danced with any other woman before I filed for divorce.'
He then claims Joni had her own affair while she was deployed in Kuwait and Iraq as a company commander with the National Guard. 
Gail writes: 'Joni had a sexual affair with one of her own soldiers while deployed from 2003-2004. I caught her secretly emailing him from our home after the deployment. She admitted to the affair, said she was sorry and begged me not to say anything.'
In his petition, Gail claims he essentially has been a single parent to their daughter Libby because Joni has been too busy pursuing her career. 
In her own filing, Joni claims that Gail had cheated on her multiple times and once became violent with her after she confronted him about his 'special friendship' with their daughter Libby's (pictured with her parents left) babysitter
In her own filing, Joni claims that Gail had cheated on her multiple times and once became violent with her after she confronted him about his 'special friendship' with their daughter Libby's (pictured with her parents left) babysitter
Joni claims that on her 25th wedding anniversary she discovered Gail's emails to Carla Rickert, who she claims was his 'long-term girlfriend', and they were planning their respective divorces. Rickert, from Sioux Falls in South Dakota, made news in 2017 with her St. Bernard Mochi after the pooch was crowned the Guinness World Records holder for the longest tongue on a dog
Joni claims that on her 25th wedding anniversary she discovered Gail's emails to Carla Rickert, who she claims was his 'long-term girlfriend', and they were planning their respective divorces. Rickert, from Sioux Falls in South Dakota, made news in 2017 with her St. Bernard Mochi after the pooch was crowned the Guinness World Records holder for the longest tongue on a dog
He writes: 'I gave up all my aspirations and goals to be a good dad and husband so Joni could pursue her dreams. I have sacrificed my dreams for the past 17 years taking care of our daughter like a single parent and supporting Joni's career. ' 
Gail also claims Joni has been dating while working in Washington D.C., claiming drinks and dinners she attended without her staff served as proof.  
In her own affidavit, Joni claims that Gail had cheated on her multiple times and once became psychical with her after she confronted him about his 'special friendship' with their daughter's babysitter. 
Joni writes in her affidavit that was submitted to court: 'During the time I was the county auditor, Gail had a special friendship with Libby's new babysitter. He began hanging out at the babysitter's house, even when Libby wasn't there. 
'I confronted him about the situation and we went through a very dark and troubling time in our marriage. I very nearly filed for a divorce after a night that we argued, and it became physical. I fled the house with Libby, and went to my mother's house in the middle of the night. 
'He followed shortly after, crying and apologizing. I sent him away. 
'After I dropped Libby off at school the next morning, I went to work and met with our Victim's Advocate Wilma Rodgers at her office in the courthouse. She did a quick exam of my throat and head, and wanted to take me to the hospital. I declined because I was embarrassed and humiliated, and I didn't want anyone to know about the assault.
'Gail freed to go to counseling at Offutt AFB [Air Force Base] to repair our marriage, but he told me not to bring up the assault in our counseling sessions. I stupidly agreed. We moved on, although things have never really been the same.'
Joni claims after her husband told her that he wanted a divorce in July of 2018, she decided to go through their accounts and affairs. 
The politician (pictured with Gail in 2014) writes:  'This has been an extremely painful journey. Although Gail seems to think he can live off my salary for the rest of his life, he is doing everything he can to destroy me and ruin my chances for reelection, which would end the gravy train he apparently plans to ride'
The politician (pictured with Gail in 2014) writes:  'This has been an extremely painful journey. Although Gail seems to think he can live off my salary for the rest of his life, he is doing everything he can to destroy me and ruin my chances for reelection, which would end the gravy train he apparently plans to ride'
She writes in her affidavit: 'On July 24th, our 25th wedding anniversary, I pulled out the list of important passwords, social security numbers, account numbers for the family, etc, and opened his Hotmail account. What I found devastated me. 
'There were e-mails in his account from a long-time girlfriend, Carla Rickert, and they were planning their respective divorces. There were disgusting sexual discussions, sharing of financials, scheming, demeaning talk about me and Carla's husband, discussions about where they would live, house floor plans, etc. 
'I started a downward spiral of not sleeping and eating and I rapidly lost 17 pounds about 13 percent of my body weight. My staff had to cancel two days of my appointments because I couldn't function.' 
Carla Rickert, from Sioux Falls in South Dakota, made news in 2017 with her St. Bernard Mochi 'Mo' Rickert after the pooch was crowned the Guinness World Records holder for the longest tongue on a dog. 
Joni claims that after filing for divorce, Gail vacationed with Rickert for multiple weeks in Florida, taking her on dinner cruises, playing on the beach and enjoying romantic dinners.   
The politician says in her affidavit that Gail has taken out a new credit card and has 'paid $1,300 off from our joint account without providing information on where the charges came from.' 
Joni also claims Gail might have had a third affair with a co-worker while he was working for US Bank, writing: 'Soon after I went to work as the Auditor, Gail left US Bank. He had moved up to the Commercial lending side of the branch, and spent time between Red Oak and Council Bluffs working on accounts. 
'He told me he quit US Bank because he tired of the extra work and the driving 40 miles a couple times a week to the Council Bluffs branch. Now I'm not sure if he left because it was too much work for him, or because he was seeing someone at the Red Oak branch. 
'I recently learned that there were rumors about Gail having an affair with the head teller at the Red Oak branch. I thought it was off that he left a good-paying day-job, and took a third-shift job as a supervisor at a window factory 25 miles way. ' 
Alliance: Joni Ernst says that she turned down Trump when they met to discuss the vice-presidency. She plans to run for her Senate seat again in 2020
Alliance: Joni Ernst says that she turned down Trump when they met to discuss the vice-presidency. She plans to run for her Senate seat again in 2020
Joni's claims in her affidavit that 'Gail has been very cruel. He is the one that filed for divorce and is the one that was cheating. 
'Yet, he expects me to move out of our house in Red Oak and pay alimony, footing the bill for all of his trips with his girlfriend. 
'This has been an extremely painful journey. Although Gail seems to think he can live off my salary for the rest of his life, he is doing everything he can to destroy me and ruin my chances for reelection, which would end the gravy train he apparently plans to ride.' 
As part of her affidavit, Joni revealed she told then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016 that she didn't want to be his vice presidential running mate, blaming the decision on her controlling husband who resisted her political success.
Joni said that Gail 'hated any successes I have,' which influenced her decision to tell Trump she didn't want to run for the job now held by Mike Pence.
'[I]n the summer of 2016, I was interviewed by Candidate Trump to be vice president of the United States. I turned Candidate Trump down, knowing it wasn't the right thing for me or my family,' she wrote.
'I continued to make sacrifices and not soar higher out of concern for Gail and our family.'
Ernst, 48, didn't say Trump had offered her the job. 
Ernst has indicated she'll run for a second six-year Senate term in 2020.
The White House and Trump campaign didn't immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

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