Laurel County Corrections/AP/Shutterstock Kentucky state Rep. Robert Goforth
Democratic leaders say Kentucky "deserves so much better" after a Republican state representative was indicted on strangulation and assault charges last Friday.
State Rep. Robert Goforth was officially charged by a grand jury last week for an April 21 incident in which a woman said he strangled her with an ethernet cable and threatened to kill her, the Corbin Times-Tribune reported.
A disagreement over her phone being locked had sparked the incident, according to the Courier-Journal. The woman said she was eventually able to leave the home after agreeing to unlock her phone.
The Laurel County Sheriff's office said in April that three small children were inside the woman's home during the alleged attack, which left her with visible bruising on her forehead, neck, and arms.
Goforth, 44, was arrested at the time and released after posting a $25,000 bond.
The state lawmaker later pleaded not guilty after he was charged with strangulation, assault, and terroristic threatening, according to the Courier-Journal.
Conrad Cessna, Goforth's attorney, told PEOPLE that pretrial conferences for the case will begin in October.
"We will continue to vigorously defend Mr. Goforth against these allegations and are eager for this matter to be tried before a jury where the Commonwealth's burden of proof is significantly heightened," Cessna said in a statement to PEOPLE. "Until that time, Mr. Goforth will remain out on bond and presumed innocent."
Marissa McNee, a spokesperson for the state's Democratic Party, told the Herald-Leader that Goforth should resign, citing a past sexual assault allegation made against him last year when he unsuccessfully ran for governor. (Goforth denied the allegation.)
"This is not the first time a victim of Mr. Goforth’s violent assaults has come forward," McNee told the Herald-Leader. "Republican Leadership has ignored this for far too long, it is time for them to take action. Goforth needs to go.”
Timothy D Easley/AP/Shutterstock Kentucky state Rep. Robert Goforth
Goforth has not resigned, despite the calls for him to do so.
Speaking with PEOPLE, McNee pointed to the state Republican Party's refusal to make a public statement about the incident.
"The silence from Republican leaders in the state of Kentucky has been appalling and speaks volumes to the many victims of domestic violence and abuse: Republicans cannot be trusted to stand up for them," McNee told PEOPLE. "Kentucky deserves so much better."
A spokesperson for the state's Republican Party did not respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
The Kentucky GOP party has previously steered away from addressing the Goforth incident directly, as noted in a statement by Kentucky House Speaker David Osborne after the lawmaker's arrest.
“While we reserve comment on this specific situation, the House Majority Caucus unequivocally denounces any form of domestic violence and has zero-tolerance for it or its perpetrators,” said Osborne, a Republican, according to local WKMS. “A society that values human life must also condemn domestic abuse."
The state passed legislation last year to make it easier to bring about felony charges in cases of strangulation, WKMS reports. Goforth was one of the lawmakers who voted in favor of the law.