Controversy swirls amid sexual harassment claims against Rep. Jeremy Durham
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) —
Sparking debate as Tennessee democrats are accusing republicans of knowing about sexual harassment complaints against Rep. Jeremy Durham for more than a year and doing nothing about it.
Democrats say moving Durham from his office over at Legislative Plaza to across the street should have been done months ago, while the attorney general office investigates.
Democrats call House Speaker Beth Harwell "pathetic," accusing her of trying to sweep this issue under the rug and hiding the problem away while she works on her political ambitions.
In a statement Harwell said:
"I feel compelled to take proactive steps to protect all parties concerned until the conclusion of the investigation. I want the investigation to be thorough and complete. I encourage anyone with information relevant to the investigation to contact the attorney general's office."
Some questions still remain amid the allegations. Did the state follow proper procedure? Did higher-ups at the capitol break the law, if they knew women had been complaining about Durham and did nothing to report it, or stop it? An employment law expert says "yes."
"Under the federal law, if an employer knew, or should have known about the harassing conduct and failed to take action. That would be a basis for liability," Howard Kastrinsky, a partner at King & Ballow, said.
Right now, Durham is banned from the Capitol and Legislative Plaza unless he is on official business. From here on out, his meetings must be supervised, and he is not allowed to talk to staffers or interns.
Durham still insists he's done nothing wrong.