Ethics committee won't hear sexual harassment complaint - WKRN News 2

Ethics committee won't hear sexual harassment complaint

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Speaker Kent Williams Speaker Kent Williams
Rep. Brian Kelsey Rep. Brian Kelsey

The House Ethics Committee has refused to hear a complaint made against new House Speaker Kent Williams.

Representative Brian Kelsey filed the complaint last week saying the newly-elected speaker lied about sexually harassing fellow lawmaker Susan Lynn in 2007.

The allegations surfaced earlier this month after Williams upset the GOP's nominee, Rep. Jason Mumpower, for the House Speaker title.

Williams has denied any wrongdoing, saying Republicans are just mad because he sided with Democrats.

Rep. Kelsey argues Williams' apology two years ago is basically the equivalent of admitting he sexually harassed Lynn.

Wednesday, at the advice of its legal counsel, the House Ethics Committee decided Kelsey's complaint against the speaker was really a sexual harassment complaint and the committee was not the place to hear it.

The ethics committee did vote to study ways that it might address future sexual harassment complaints.

Rep. Lynn did not attend Wednesday's hearing as she was in the hospital with what Rep. Kelsey called "feelings of stress."

"She had major feelings of stress [Wednesday] morning and she is in the hospital," he had said.

She has since been released.

At least one top House democrat railed against Kelsey saying he is the reason Rep. Lynn had to be hospitalized.

"Susan Lynn is in the hospital [Wednesday], and in my opinion, I think Brian Kelsey put her in there and I think his behavior is terrible," said Rep. Mike Turner.  "I think its sour grapes."

Kelsey, who has been a longtime opponent of Williams, campaigning against his re-election in Carter County, said he believes the ethics committee is trying to avoid hearing the case.

"Clearly, this committee came in here with the idea that they were going to cover up this whole issue, and not even investigate these issues," he said. "It's absurd."

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