The Latest: Lobbyists warned others that Durham "creepy"

AP News
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Posted: Jul 13, 2016 7:32 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Latest on the investigation that found Tennessee State Rep. Jeremy Durham sexually harassed at least 22 women (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

Multiple female lobbyists told investigators that State Rep. Jeremy Durham's reputation for making sexually suggestive overtures to women was well-known among lobbyists at the Tennessee statehouse.

One woman, who told investigators he once rubbed her thigh, said that "it is generally known among female lobbyists that you do not want to be in Rep. Durham's office alone."

A special committee of the House of Representatives released a report Wednesday that found Durham sexually harassed 22 women.

Lobbyists and legislative staffers interviewed in the report described him sending late-night, suggestive text messages, touching them and persistently asking them to drink with him. They thought he was "fishing" to see how far he could go, describing him as "creepy," and giving them "ick feelings."

One said that as early as 2013, fellow lobbyists warned her to stay away.

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5:30 p.m.

An investigation of a Tennessee state legislator described a dozen women who told investigators they were afraid that reporting a powerful politician's sexual advances would ruin their careers.

A special committee of the House of Representatives released a report Wednesday that found Rep. Jeremy Durham sexually harassed 22 women.

One lobbyist told investigators that she feared crossing him because "they have the trump card. They can make or break you." A senior male lobbyist agreed saying "that enduring a legislator's sexual advances is merely part of a female lobbyist's job."

One young intern said she had hoped to get a full-time job and was afraid to look like "that girl" who caused trouble. Another said she told Durham he was being inappropriate and he responded, "Welcome to Capitol Hill."

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5:15 p.m.

An investigation of a Tennessee state legislator has found he took advantage of his position to sexually harass at least 22 women. They include a then-20-year-old college student who told investigators he plied her with drinks and had sex with her in his office two years ago.

A special committee of the House of Representatives released the report about Rep. Jeremy Durham on Wednesday. Committee Chairman Rep. Steve McDaniel said the group opted against trying to convene a special session of the legislature to oust Durham. Instead, McDaniel said, group members will let voters decide.

Durham, now 32, is running for re-election. Early voting for state primaries begins Friday.

After preliminary findings were released in April, House Speaker Beth Harwell exiled Durham to a different building and limited his access to the Capitol.