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Lawmaker Calls For Investigation Into Unnamed Rep. In AG's Durham Report

Posted at 6:24 PM, Jul 15, 2016

Rep. Jeremy Durham may have dropped out of his race for reelection, but the chips are still falling after the Attorney General released a 48-page report detailing 22 women's allegations of sexual harassment against him.

"How 'bout all the other people?" asked Rep. Bo Mitchell (D, Nashville) holding the report in his hand, "it's about more than Jeremy Durham." 

Mitchell is calling for a full-scale TBI investigation into the woman named in the report as Rep. Jane Doe # 33.

"That same State Representative defined themselves to the Attorney General as best friends and social acquaintances with Representative Durham," Mitchell said.

The report shows the unnamed lawmaker let go of one of her staffers, an alleged harassment victim, after the girl's encounter with Durham.

The staffer said Durham tried to kiss her on multiple occasions and would frequently send her text messages trying to meet up.

"A state employee was fired for being harassed," Mitchell said plainly.

That staffer said she lost her taste for politics after that and is now working elsewhere.

"That's sad that we have crushed the dreams of young people in the Tennessee General Assembly," said Mitchell.

And while many on Capitol Hill say the Durham case is isolated, the report shows dozens knew about it possibly for years.

The new workplace harassment policy finalized just yesterday by the leadership in the legislature is supposed to help.

It requires lawmakers who know about any harassment to report it. And it puts in writing that retaliation is not tolerated.

The TBI responded, saying "The TBI initiates criminal investigations at the request of the District Attorney General. To date, we have not received a request to investigate any allegations related to this case."

The Attorney General's office responded after Mitchell's announcement saying,   "Our role was to investigate and present findings. The only thing we referred to another agency was a question on campaign finances, which we referred to the Registry of Election Finance. We did not make a referral in this instance."

Representative Mitchell also announced he plans to try to repeal House Bill 1679 which passed last session.

That bill forces the accusers to pay the legal fees of public employees who win any legal claim against them.

It was meant to cut down on frivolous lawsuits but Mitchell said it undoubtedly helps to silence real victims, like in the Durham case.

"As you know an intern being a college student would not have the resources to pay for their attorney much less the defenses attorney," Mitchell said. The bill's sponsor, Rep. William Lamberth (R, Cottontown) did not respond to requests for comment.