Rep. Rick Staples resigning from leadership position amid sexual harassment allegations

Posted at 12:12 PM, Apr 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-11 13:12:28-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Rep. Rick Staples announced his resignation from his Democratic leadership position after a House ethics panel found he violated the General Assembly's sexual harassment policy.

Staples (D – Knoxville) confirmed his resignation Thursday in a statement, saying:

“I have already publicly apologized for any distress I unintentionally caused. I have decided to step down from my leadership position of Assistant House Minority Leader so I can end the unwarranted suffering on my family, continue to serve my constituents unimpeded and end any distractions this may bring to the Tennessee House. I look forward to following the recommendations of the Ethics Committee and pledge to remain the best servant to my constituency of District 15. I’ll have no further comment going forward on this matter.”

The House Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Subcommittee recently found that Staples violated the General Assembly's sexual harassment policy.

The subcommittee directed the Knoxville Democrat to take actions to ensure the violation does not happen again and to report back to the subcommittee.

Staples told reporters last week he was sorry for having his behavior possibly misinterpreted after being accused of sexual misconduct, but denied he was under investigation.