Representative David Byrd released a statement following reports of sexual misconduct with players on his basketball team decades ago.
“First, let me say that I have done nothing wrong or inappropriate during my term as state representative for the 71st District, which I proudly serve. I am disappointed that Speaker Harwell so quickly publicly turned her back on me but understand her political posture.
Second, these recent allegations of inappropriate contact, never before made, date back over three decades ago and are disheartening to me, and my family. One must question the motives of these three former students out of the hundreds of students I have coached.
Conduct over 30 years ago is difficult, at best, to recall, but as a Christian, I have said and I will repeat that if I hurt or emotionally upset any of my students I am truly sorry and apologize.
I do not condone sexually inappropriate behavior and hope that my behavior over the last 30 years bears that out. I ran for office, not for opportunity for myself but for the opportunity to help others and provide a service to this district. I understand that my stances on some issues in the House are controversial and I knew that I would have opponents who would seek to embellish my character.
Currently, I am working hard for the people of this district and I seek to live in a way that reflects my Biblical beliefs. One of these beliefs rests on the premise that we are all God’s children and should be free from abuse of any kind. I do not believe either of these ladies can show that they made a report to the authorities or received any subsequent mental health counseling for what they have alleged but, again, if my acts or omissions cause them distress I am truly sorry.
I have a wonderful wife and 4 children and regret my desire to represent the good people of this district may have caused them the pain these allegations have brought about.
However, I feel I am a man of integrity, faith in God and family and can continue to be the kind of representative the people of the 71st District can trust.
I will have nothing further to say on the matter, and I hope to get back to the business of representing the good people of Hardin, Wayne, Lewis and Lawrence Counties.”
House Speaker Beth Harwell called for his resignation Tuesday in response to the reports.