sexual harassment

State Elections Commission ousts commissioner for strip search joking

The State Election Commission voted Monday to remove Putnam Election Commissioner Terry Herrin from office after testimony citing his repeated joking about a woman election office employee facing a strip search, reports the Cookeville Herald Citizen.

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Rep. David Byrd accused of sexual misconduct; Harwell says he should resign

State Rep. David  Byrd has been accused by three women of having inappropriate sexual contact with them while he was a high school basketball coach and they were teenagers, according to WSMV. House Speaker Beth Harwell promptly called for the Waynesboro Republican to resign from his House seat after being provided a secretly-recorded tape of Byrd apologizing to one of the women. Continue reading

TN county Democratic chair resigns after domestic violence dispute

Maury County Democratic Party Chairman Seth James Campbell resigned from the office Tuesday, reports the Columbia Daily Herald. Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini had called for him to do so after reports that he slightly injured his girlfriend in a confrontation, though the woman declined to prosecute and asked that a a domestic violence charge be dismissed. It was.

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Black says she was sexually harassed as a state legislator

U.S. Rep. Diane Black, now a candidate for governor, says in a column written for Townhall that she suffered episodes of sexual harassment from “the good ol’ boy culture” while a state legislator years ago.

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Bredesen handling of 2005 sexual harassment cases resurrected

With Phil Bredesen’s entry into the U.S. Senate campaign at a time of considerable attention to sexual harassment involving politicians, a couple of political blogs suggest that two 2005 episodes during Bredesen’s tenure as governor could become an issue in his current campaign.

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Harold Ford Jr. fired from Wall Street job after sexual harassment allegation

Harold Ford Jr., the former Tennessee Democratic congressman who traded politics for Wall Street, has been fired by Morgan Stanley after a human resources investigation found he engaged in conduct “inconsistent with our values and in violation of our polices,” the company said Thursday.

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Harwell orders ‘active shooter’ training for House staff

House Speaker Beth Harwell has directed House staffers to attend mandatory classes on how to survive an “active shooter” incident and how not to commit sexual harassment, reports the Times Free Press.

The active-shooter training comes as legislative workers prepare to settle into their new Cordell Hull Building home, where handgun-carry permit holders will be allowed to go armed.

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Conflict seen in TN laws to prevent child sexual abuse and to restrict sex education

Organizations pushing Tennessee schools to expand their child sexual abuse prevention efforts say they face resistance from educators worried about violating a state law putting restrictions on sex education classes, reports The Tennessean.

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Sexual misconduct complaints up 68 percent last year at UT Knoxville

The University of Tennessee says reports of sexual misconduct at the Knoxville campus jumped 68 percent from 2015 to 2016, with 38 complaints reported in 2015 compared to 64 in 2016.

Further from the News Sentinel:

The 64 reports made by students in 2016 include 50 reports of sexual assault, three reports of sexual harassment, three reports of sexual exploitation and eight reports that were unclassified.

For the first time this year, the report also includes additional data on relationship violence and stalking, with a combined 39 reports made in 2016.

The data was released Wednesday as part of an annual report UT has prepared each year since 2015 detailing reports of sexual misconduct occurring both on and off campus and reported by students. 

Officials at UT said the rise in complaints this year reflects increased educational efforts and training around sexual misconduct, rather than a rise in violence on campus.  

“People are more aware not only of the policy but the process of how to report,” said Jenny Richter, Title IX coordinator for the University of Tennessee Knoxville and associate vice chancellor and director of the Office of Equity and Diversity. “More of our faculty and staff, when they receive these kinds of reports, know what to do. I think students, as they become more aware of the processes and procedures, are more comfortable figuring out what avenues they have to report.” 

Former Sen. Joe Haynes indicted on sexual battery charge

Former state Sen. Joe Haynes of Nashville has been indicted on a sexual battery charge, reports The Tennessean.

The indictment states Haynes, who is an attorney, “did intentionally engage in unlawful sexual contact” with a 49-year-old woman in July 2016. The woman did not consent to the contact, according to the indictment.

“The woman reported that she had retained Haynes to represent her in legal matters related to the estate of her recently deceased mother. She reported that on July 25, 2016 during a visit to the property of her mother, Haynes attempted to French kiss her,” and grabbed the woman’s buttocks, said Metro Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron.

…Haynes was booked into jail Monday afternoon… Davidson County Sheriff’s Office records show he was released a few hours after he was booked. His bond was $2,500, so he needed to post $250 to be released.

… Haynes, 80, served nearly three decades in the Tennessee state Senate during a time when Democrats controlled the chamber. He held numerous leadership roles, including Senate Democratic Caucus chairman for 10 years, caucus treasurer and secretary for six years and caucus majority whip for one session.