Harwell orders Durham ostracized

Documents released today indicate Attorney General Herbert Slatery’s investigation of state Rep. Jeremy Durham show a pattern of behavior including “inappropriate physical contact with some women” and House Speaker Beth Harwell has responded by restricting Durham’s contact with legislative staff.

Here is Harwell’s statement sent to media:

“Today I received a memorandum from the Ad Hoc Select Committee regarding Representative Jeremy Durham. Although the Attorney General’s investigation is ongoing, I feel compelled to take proactive steps to protect all parties concerned until the conclusion of the investigation. This is based upon the attached letter from the Attorney General, and the recommendations from the Ad Hoc Select Committee.

“These proactive steps include reassigning Rep. Durham’s office from the War Memorial Building to the ground floor of the Rachel Jackson Building, and limiting his access to the Legislative Plaza, War Memorial Building, Rachel Jackson Building, and 2nd floor of the State Capitol for official legislative business only. These actions will be taken immediately.

“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.”

The referenced letter is HERE.

Further, from The Tennessean:

Slatery’s memo, dated Wednesday, states that the investigation thus far includes interviews with 34 people, and the information provided through those interviews revealed:

“Information obtained from the women who related incidents involving Representative Durham indicates: (1) Representative Durham occupied a superior position of power to the women; (2) he obtained personal contact information from the women under the guise of legislative business or another legitimate reason; (3) he initiated contact about non-legislative matters and attempted to meet the women alone; (4) he usually involved alcohol in his interaction with women; and (5) he made inappropriate comments of a sexual nature or engaged in inappropriate physical contact with some women,” reads a letter from Slatery to the chairman of the special investigative committee.

“With few exceptions, the women who related incidents felt they could not report Representative Durham’s behavior because nothing could be done and they did not want to lose their jobs or be considered ‘untrustworthy’ by employers, clients or legislators.”

The report also states women who continue to work at the legislature “avoid or refuse to be alone with Representative Durham, a situation which has affected their ability to perform their jobs.”