Former U.S. Rep. Katie Hill won a restraining order Tuesday against her ex-husband, whom she accused of choking and threatening her during years of abuse and of leaking nude photos and other information that led to her resignation.
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ordered Kenneth Heslep to stay at least 100 yards (91 meters) away from Hill, her mother and her sister, as well as Hill’s dog, goat and horse.
“He has previously killed and harmed my pets as a way to control and terrorize me,” Hill said in her request.
Heslep, 37, of Tustin, also was ordered not to stalk, threaten or assault Hill and her relatives or impersonate them on the web.
Hill alleged that her ex-husband was “obsessed with guns” and had at least a dozen. Under the restraining order, he must sell to or store guns with a licensed dealer or hand over to a police agency.
The restraining order stands until a Dec. 30 hearing to further discuss the case. The judge deferred until then a decision on whether to grant Hill’s request to bar Heslep from disseminating “confidential information” about Hill, such as her medical, sexual or financial history, to the media or on social media.
Hill, 33, was an unknown when she defeated Republican Steve Knight in 2018 for the House seat for the 25th Congressional District, which covers northern Los Angeles County and part of Ventura County.
She was part of a Democratic wave that knocked seven California Republicans out of power and appeared to have an up-and-coming political career. She became friendly with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and was appointed as vice chair of the powerful House Oversight Committee.
However, Hill resigned less than a year later amid allegations that she had inappropriate affairs with a female campaign aide, which she confirmed, and a male congressional staff member, which she denied. A relationship with a congressional staffer would have violated House rules.
Hill’s resignation came after nude pictures of Hill and the aide were leaked to conservative media. A Republican, Mike Garcia, won her vacant House seat in November’s election.
In her last floor speech, Hill apologized to supporters and said she’d been warned that political operatives had hundreds more nude pictures that they were planning to release “bit by bit until they broke me down to nothing while they used my faults and my past to distract from the things that matter most.”
Hill vowed to fight a smear campaign she said was being waged by her then-estranged husband. The two finalized their divorce in September of this year.
The Associated Press wasn’t immediately able to contact Heslep to seek comment. The Los Angeles Times said its attempts to reach him were unsuccessful and NBC News said that he couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Heslep previously has denied involvement.
But in her restraining order, Hill alleged that he was still leaking disparaging stories to the media. In November, her representatives received messages from a British tabloid asking for comments on “new interviews being given by Kenny, purporting to provide false ‘details’ and accusations about my sexual, medical, and financial history,” Hill wrote.
“Apparently, running me out of Congress was not enough for Kenny,” her filing said. “He continues to try to ruin me, creating bizarre conspiracy theories and peddling lies to media outlets, doing everything in his power to continue his abuse and maintain any control he can over me.”
In her declaration, Hill laid out what she said was a pattern of abuse during a 15-year relationship that began when she was 16 and he was 20.
Heslep repeatedly choked her unconscious during sex, threatened her with guns, angrily pinned her against walls, allowed his two dogs to kill her cat, and released sexually explicit photos in order to destroy her life and career “after I had gathered the courage to leave him,” Hill declared.
She was finally seeking a restraining order “because I am afraid that he will not give up until I am dead,” Hill said.