Senate President Jason Ellsworth is under orders not to contact or come near a Lewis and Clark County resident after she filed a petition for an order of temporary protection against him, accusing the Hamilton Republican of physically abusing her during their six-year relationship.

Lindsey Murolo, who is listed as Ellsworth’s partner in the Legislature’s official roster, filed the petition for an order of protection against Ellsworth on May 2 of this year — the same day Montana’s 68th Legislature adjourned sine die. Lewis and Clark County Justice of the Peace Mark Piskolich granted a temporary order on the same day. A hearing on the order is scheduled for July 17. 

No charges related to the petition, which has not been previously reported, have been filed. 

Murolo’s petition alleges that Ellsworth shoved, choked and pushed her down a flight of stairs during the course of their relationship, both in Lewis and Clark and Ravalli counties, where Murolo and Ellsworth respectively live. She wrote that the last instance of alleged abuse she recalled occurred at her house in October 2022.

In her handwritten attestation, Murolo said that during that incident, Ellsworth went outside to grab his Glock pistol and “came in and loaded it, was waving it around then laid his 300 pound self on top of me trying to force me to shoot him. I was crying begging him to leave and my daughter was right above us upstairs in her room. She heard him yelling and was scared.”

The name of Murolo’s daughter is redacted in court records obtained by Montana Free Press. 

“While he was attacking me I tried to get my phone to call 911 but he grabbed it and smashed it into pieces,” the petition reads. “He was saying he wanted to die. When he was on top of me restraining me he was waving the gun all around and even pointing it at me and upstairs trying to force me into grabbing the gun.”

She wrote that after that October incident, she made Ellsworth collect his belongings and move out and blocked him from texting or calling, but that he continued emailing her and leaving notes on her truck. Available court records do not include copies of such communications.

“I am the most worried and scared since the last abuse happened at my house,” she wrote, adding that she and her daughter are scared “that he’ll show up and try to come inside.” 

Murolo’s petition estimates that Ellsworth possesses “hundreds of firearms” at his home in Hamilton. 

Ellsworth did not immediately reply to a request for comment Monday. His attorney, Joan Mell of Ravalli County, did not provide comment in time for publication Monday afternoon. 

Piskolich’s temporary order of protection stipulates that Ellsworth must not come within 1,500 feet of Murolo, her home, her workplace and her daughter. Courts can issue temporary orders of protection while a hearing for a permanent order is pending if the petitioner “is in danger of harm if the court does not issue a temporary order of protection immediately.”

Helena Police Department Captain Randy Ranalli identified to MTFP two previous law enforcement interactions involving Ellsworth and Murolo in Lewis and Clark County. In April, 2022, Ellsworth reportedly called for a welfare check on Murolo, whom he claimed to be unable to reach, Ranalli said. In 2021, Lewis and Clark County deputies responded to a call for service from Ellsworth related to a disturbance at Murolo’s residence. Responding officers made contact with both parties and determined nothing criminal had occurred, Ranalli said. 

Ellsworth referred to Murolo as his fiancée during a speech he delivered to the Senate at the beginning of the 2023 legislative session. 

“We do acknowledge they’re here, but I don’t think people really understand how important they are to us as senators and to the legislative body — and that’s our families,” he said. “We go away for four months here in Helena and, you know what, our families are supportive for us. They keep our lives in order.”

“Thank God we have our families and our friends,” Ellsworth added. “And a special thank you to my fiancée, Lindsey Murolo.”

Ellsworth has served in the state Senate since 2019, and was elected Senate president ahead of the 2023 session. In 2021, he pleaded guilty to a charge of obstructing a peace officer resulting from a traffic stop on a highway east of Helena. 

Murolo is represented by Montana Legal Services Association attorney William Hooks, who declined on Monday to comment on the case.

This story may be updated. 


Raised in Arizona, Arren is no stranger to the issues impacting Western states, having a keen interest in the politics of land, transportation and housing. Prior to moving to Montana, Arren was a statehouse reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times and covered agricultural and trade policy for Politico in Washington, D.C. In Montana, he has carved out a niche in shoe-leather heavy muckraking based on public documents and deep sourcing that keeps elected officials uncomfortable and the public better informed.

Mara writes about health and human services stories happening in local communities, the Montana statehouse and the court system. She also produces the Shared State podcast in collaboration with MTPR and YPR. Before joining Montana Free Press, Mara worked in podcast and radio production at Slate and WNYC. She was born and raised in Helena, MT and graduated from Seattle University in 2016.