U.S. Senate candidate Sean Parnell counters allegations made in custody hearing

PITTSBURGH — Sean Parnell is a US Senate candidate in Pennsylvania. He is openly campaigning and getting endorsements, and he openly talks about his combat time in Afghanistan as a central theme to his leadership and experience in making tough choices.

But Monday, Parnell walked into the courtroom engaged in a custody battle. This is part of an ongoing divorce and custody dispute. These hearings can often be contentious, and sometimes filled with explosive allegations, and today was no different.

Far from the campaign trail, Sean Parnell and his wife, Laurie Snell, crossed paths today inside the Butler County Courthouse.

Only Channel 11 was inside the courtroom to hear the first of three days of testimony.

Today, Laurie Snell made her case, alleging Parnell physically and verbally abused her.

She said on the stand that she attributed some of the alleged outbursts to PTSD.

Sean Parnell has said publicly that he sustained a traumatic brain injury in Afghanistan and was diagnosed with PTSD.

But he has said his time in Afghanistan did not “break him or damage him” and he has called for more support for veterans.

Laurie Snell alleged the final straw for her was Parnell’s behavior around his three kids, and Snell’s brother and sister testified they saw Parnell lose his temper around the kids.

Sean Parnell’s camp sent Channel 11 this statement as testimony wrapped up today:

“We are looking forward to our day in court to set the record straight. We anxiously await the opportunity to refute these baseless allegations. Let me emphatically state: I have never raised a hand in anger towards my wife or any of our three children. What happened today in court was not justice, nor did it have any basis in fact or truth. Next week, I’ll have an opportunity to present the truth to the court and I look forward to that opportunity.”

As we mentioned, this was the first of what’s expected to be three days of testimony – with Sean Parnell and his attorneys presenting their case next Monday.

We’ll be there for that testimony as well, and then a judge will ultimately make the decision over custody of the children.