The TV stations staked out
the state House speaker's office today, and Kent Williams finally emerged to say he wishes he could talk about those sexual harassment allegations against him. He really does. But, dammit all, state law prohibits it. So gee, he guesses we'll have to just be satisfied with his blanket denial.
"I am unfortunately prohibited from elaborating on any details. That's the rules here and I play by the rules. As I stated in my press release, I have never harassed anyone in any way; never will. I've never been reprimanded or charged with any harassment. That's all I can say about it. I wish my hands weren't tied but they are."
So here's the multiple choice that we're left to consider: (A) Williams is lying through his teeth about this. (B) He's a neanderthal who thinks it isn't sexual harassment to drunkenly stumble up to a House colleague in a parking garage at night and say that you'd love to see her naked. Or (C) He's lying AND he's a neanderthal. (The correct answer is most likely C.)
House Republicans, meanwhile,
say the law may constrain Williams from talking about this, but it didn't stop them from releasing the now-famous harassment memo because Rep. Susan Lynn never made an actual "complaint." Therefore, the whole thing was merely a "dispute" and didn't fall under the law's confidentiality requirements. For his part, Democratic leader Gary Odom is suspicious about the timing of the release and thinks it may have had something to do with the fact that the Republican Party wants to make Williams look really bad to the public. There, now you're up to date--for the moment anyway.
Rep. Brian Kelsey has filed an ethics complaint
against Kent Williams with the office of Kent Williams. Says Kelsey: "Speaker Williams's actions of sexual harassment were bad enough to begin with. Denying that the events ever occurred, in effect calling Rep. Lynn a liar, is like spitting in the face of his victim. Speaker Williams issued a false statement with the intent to deceive the public. This type of dishonesty to the people of Tennessee is totally unacceptable from the leader of the House of Representatives." That's crazy talk. The speaker of the House can't lie? Since when?
Paid GOP liar Bill Hobbs demands the truth: "Most Tennesseans had never heard of Kent Williams until last week, when the little-known legislator managed to get himself installed as Speaker through a process of backroom deals, betrayal and lies. Unfortunately, they are coming to know him now as an alleged sexual harasser who is trying to dance away from serious allegations by saying 'no comment' and hiding behind technicalities. Rep. Williams owes the people the truth about what he said or did to a female colleague two years ago. Until they get the truth, a skeptical public has one more reason to worry about the character of the man Democrats installed in the Speaker's chair."