In one of his first press releases, the new Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives denied today that he had ever sexually harassed anyone.
The statement was prompted by the release of a memo from the office of House Majority Leader Jason Mumpower. The memo details a run-in between Williams and Mt. Juliet Republican Susan Lynn about two years ago. It was released after NashvillePost.com filed a freedom of information request.
Lynn confirmed to WPLN that the account in the memo is accurate. She says she hasn’t filed any complaint, either two years ago or now.
Lynn says she was contacted this week by a blogger who asked about the two-year-old controversy. The blogger then wrote a version of that information and posted it on the Internet.
Lynn says she hadn’t intended for any of the allegations to become public. Two years ago the issue was settled in meetings between Republican leaders. Williams apparently apologized for hasty words which were inappropriate.
In his statement today Williams said “I have never sexually harassed anyone nor have I been reprimanded for any such behavior.”
Williams, entering his second term in the legislature, is facing increased scrutiny after bucking the Republican leadership to become House Speaker.
The Internet news service Nashvillepost.com posted a copy of the Mumpower memo today.
Here is the statement issued today by Speaker Williams:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Sexual Harassment Policy of the Tennessee General Assembly requires that any and all information falling under the parameters of the policy must be held confidential. The policy strictly prohibits the release of any information as upheld by the courts. All matters pertaining to issues involving the Sexual Harassment Policy should be referred to Connie Ridley, Director of Legislative Administration. However, I have never sexually harassed anyone nor have I been reprimanded for any such behavior.
Right now my focus continues to be on moving this state forward and getting to the business of governing. This week, I have brought House Democrats and Republicans together to coordinate bipartisan committee assignments and with these talks our forward momentum is building. I am looking forward to getting on with the people’s business.