Tennessee Lawmaker Resigns Over Sexual Harassment Charges

April 21, 2023

A member of the Tennessee State House who’d voted to oust the so-called “Tennessee Three” has resigned his own seat after having been found guilty of sexual harassment.

Rep. Scotty Campbell (R), who serves as vice chair of the House Republican Caucus, resigned Thursday afternoon—hours after it was revealed to the public that an ethics panel had found him guilty of sexually harassing at least one, and possibly two, female interns.

Just two weeks ago, Campbell made headlines for condemning three of his fellow state lawmakers for breaking decorum while protesting for gun control laws.

That was several days after he was found guilty of “violating [House] policy”—essentially the same reason given for voting to expel the “Tennessee Three.”

Tennessee state Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, both Black, were expelled on April 6 while Rep. Gloria Johnson, who is white, survived the vote against her after the trio were accused a week earlier of breaking House rules by calling for gun reform, just days after a school shooting in Nashville left six dead, including three 9-year-olds.

On April 10 Nashville’s city council voted unanimously to reinstate Jones to his position in the state House. Two days later, the Shelby County Board of Commissioners in Memphis voted to reinstate Pearson.

However, state law still requires a special election on the seats filled by Jones and Pearson. That’s scheduled for August 3, after a June 15 primary election. Both lawmakers have said they intend to run.

Campbell had voted to expel the “Tennessee Three” arguing, “If you were in court and behaved like those three did, you would have been found in contempt of court.”

According to the state House investigation, 39-year-old Campbell made inappropriately crude and suggestive comments to an intern who lived nearby him. 

According to an email from one 19-year-old victim provided by a family member, after she and a fellow intern entered their apartment building, Campbell later “made comments about how…he was in his apartment imagining that we were performing sexual acts on one another and how it drove him crazy knowing that was happening so close to him.”

Campbell also reportedly offered the teen intern cannibis gummies and told her how lonely he was, despite her insistence that he stop. 

When questioned by reporters on Thursday, Campbell said, “I had consensual, adult conversations with two adults off property.” 

Potentially thousands of dollars in taxpayer money has been spent to protect one of the victims, according to reports, including relocating her from the building where she and Campbell both had apartments, shipping her furniture back home in another part of Tennessee and placing her in a hotel for the remainder of her internship.

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

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