A recent U.S. Department of Justice report says that youths in Tennessee juvenile correction facilities are at greater risk of being sexually victimized than the national average, reports the Tennessean. The report estimates that 9.5 percent of youths in state and private correctional facilities across the nation, or just more than 1,700 youths, were sexually victimized in 2011-12. The rate for Tennessee facilities was 13 percent.
The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics compiled the numbers through surveys of 326 facilities across the country. Nearly 8,700 youths responded to the sexual victimization part of the survey.
The report defines sexual victimization as forced sexual activity between youths and all sexual activity involving youths and staff.
Of the four Tennessee facilities surveyed, John S. Wilder Youth Development Center in Somerville had the highest rate of estimated sexual victimization, at 19.5 percent, up from 16.3 percent in 2010, when the bureau published a similar study. Three years ago, the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center had one of the highest rates in the county, at 26 percent.
Statement from Congressman Scott DesJarlais on release of transcript from his divorce — previous post HERE — as provided to media via email: “The sole reason I appeared in Chattanooga today was to protect my children from these desperate attacks being driven by the Tennessee Democratic Party, Lincoln Davis and my ex-wife.
“My opponent and his far-left political allies have done all they can to make this election about everything besides my record in Congress. In fact, it seems that the only opponent that I have ever had to run against is a 14 year old divorce. Despite their efforts, we have remained focused on issues that are important to Tennesseans. Tomorrow’s election results will show that voters are tired of the gutter politics and want someone with a proven track record of fighting to grow jobs, cut spending and pay down our debt.
“It is important to note that these records were never sealed although the media has inaccurately reported otherwise.”
— Statement from Eric Stewart campaign, attributed to Campaign Manager Kevin Teets, on the same:
“Congressman DesJarlais is under investigation by the Tennessee Medical Board for sleeping with his own patients, he’s been asked to resign by the Tennessee Conservative Union, and, more importantly he continues to hide from the media and from voters.
“If he’s so proud of his record in Congress, then why has he refused to defend it in front of voters? He’s a do-nothing Congressman and a do-nothing candidate with a history of intimidation, abusing power, and blaming others.
“His campaign continuously throws around labels and blames other people, but only one person slept with his patients, told a patient she needed to go to Atlanta and have an abortion, and had four affairs while still married. That person is Congressman DesJarlais. This isn’t about dirty politics – it’s about a dirty politician. Voters deserve better.”
Striving to maintain a substantial presence in the Tennessee General Assembly, Democrats appear more aggressive than Republicans do in attacking their opponents in legislative races across the state as campaigns enter the final stage.
“We are holding a lot of incumbents accountable for their reckless actions … and some non-incumbents,” said Brandon Puttbrese, communications director of the Tennessee Democratic Party. He described the state GOP as “a political party that flaunts the law and believes in accountability for everyone but themselves.”
“Our candidates are running on a record of accomplishments, a record to be proud of,” said Adam Nickas, executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party. “Democrats are trying to find sideshows.”
If Republicans can gain just two seats each in the state House and Senate on Nov. 6, they will have two-thirds control of both chambers — enough to meet and conduct business even if all Democrats were to walk out. The “super majority” would also be able to suspend normal parliamentary rules and enact legislation on a moment’s notice, if all Republicans are in agreement
Republicans are faulting Democratic state Sen. Tim Barnes for spending $15,517 from his taxpayer-funded “constituent communications” account on two mailers this year, one in June and one in September, reports the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle. “It’s pretty clear that constituent communications need to be done when the legislature is in session,” said Jordan Young, Senate Republican Caucus executive director.
“Saving all that money and using it during the campaign when his services are completed is wrong,” Young said. “Wouldn’t you want to know about a particular issue before you vote on it?”
Legislators are given an allowance for mailers for communications with constituents, but those mailers are prohibited during the 30 days before a primary or a general election.
In this case, the June mailer went out about a week before the cutoff, which Young said indicates Barnes was “flirting with that rule.”
But, he said, “whether it follows the rule or not doesn’t make it right. Sen. Barnes is using taxpayer resources to build up his name” and that’s not fair, he said, when “our candidate has to pay for it himself.”
On Nov. 6, Barnes faces Republican Mark Green for the District 22 seat, which includes Montgomery, Stewart and Houston counties. Young characterized it as the only “highly contested” state Senate race where the incumbent is a Democrat.
…Barnes responded that there’s nothing unusual or unethical about the mailers.
“I’m sure they would call it that, but if you look into when legislators mail these out, they do it during the session and after the session,” Barnes said.
“It is not only perfectly ethical, it is common practice and a vital and needed way to communicate with constituents.”
“A lot of these are summarizing what we did in the legislative session to get feedback. It gives us the opportunity to plan for the next session.”
…Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle of Memphis called the accusation “unfounded criticism.”
“All legislative mail – from the content to the timing – is approved by the speaker’s office, therefore if they have an argument, they have to take it up with Speaker (Ron) Ramsey, who the last time I looked was a Republican,” Kyle said.
“And I guarantee he reads every one of those word for word.”
— Note: For more on the ‘constituent communications’ accounts — which are exploited on a bipartisan basis — see this story written with the primary pending and mostly focused on how incumbents — Republicans included — transferred money from their accounts to help colleagues with the mailers under question.