Filing starts Morrissey divorce proceedings

Debora Timms | 5/25/2023, 6 p.m.
Myrna Pride Morrissey began divorce proceedings against her husband, state Sen. Joe Morrissey last week. The complaint was filed with ...

Myrna Pride Morrissey began divorce proceedings against her husband, state Sen. Joe Morrissey last week. The complaint was filed with the clerk’s office of the Henrico Circuit Court on May 18.

According to a copy of the filing, Ms. Pride, now her preferred name, alleges that she suffered physical and verbal abuse during their marriage and that the senator had numerous affairs that were “known to – but not condoned” by herself.

The filing also alleges that the two did have a “sexual relationship” while Ms. Pride was still a minor – something that both parties have previously denied. The complaint outlines how her husband told her to “throw your phone in the river” to hide evidence of the relationship from a police investigation. It also states he had a legislative staffer purchase “burner” phones so the two could keep in contact and he could be informed about the course of the investigation and that the existence of these phones was never revealed to authorities.

When reached by telephone for comment, Sen. Morrissey said his wife had texted him that she would “ruin your life and your political career” following allegations of child abuse the senator had made against Ms. Pride’s boyfriend in January.

He called the allegations “absolutely false,” saying he still loved his wife and was only interested in the welfare of his children.

Retired Judge Robert S. Brewbaker, Jr. found no evidence of abuse and dismissed protective orders. On Sen. Morrissey’s request, he issued orders prohibiting the parents from speaking about the case to the press; however, Ms. Pride’s attorneys and family members did make public statements.

“The judge made an order that the parents could not speak to the press, but I’m not a parent,” Mary Elizabeth White, counsel for Ms. Pride said by phone about her statements calling the case made by the senator an “abuse of the legal system.”

The family also made statements saying Ms. Pride and her boyfriend had been “completely vindicated” in court. This led to the senator’s attorney filing five contempt proceedings against Ms. White, her co-counsel Darcey Geissler, Ms. Pride, and Ms. Pride’s sister, Christina Davis, and father, Coleman Pride.

On May 18, the same day divorce proceedings were filed, Ms. White says “the judge threw them all out.”

“What was most striking, even though Myrna was a party to the order – they never put on any evidence that she had done anything wrong,” she added. “It was pure harassment to shut her up, and I have to admire her for finally speaking up.”

When asked about this dismissal, Sen. Morrissey responded by saying the judge called the gag order he made on only the parents “my bad,” and that he would “never let that happen again.”