Note: This story was updated at 10:40 a.m.
CLINTON—He’s been accused of inappropriate behavior that includes unwelcome sexual advances, unwanted touching, and lewd and vulgar text messages. He’s been unanimously censured and asked to resign by the Anderson County Commission. He’s been sued in federal court. And some residents have joined commissioners in asking him to resign, or at least not seek re-election.
Despite those pleas, though, Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk William Jones, who has denied many allegations and called others false, is seeking re-election in the Anderson County Republican Party primary election on Tuesday, May 1. Jones has filed counterclaims in federal court and filed a defamation lawsuit in state court.
Some of the sexual harassment allegations appear to have been forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies, including the Tennessee Attorney General, Tennessee Department of Labor, and Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts, according to records released by Anderson County. It’s not clear which outside agencies, if any, might be investigating the complaints, or whether the local district attorney general might be investigating.
Commission censures Jones, asks him to resign
The accusations against Jones, who is seeking his second four-year term, were publicly disclosed during a review of a sexual harassment complaint at an Anderson County Commission meeting on February 20.
During that meeting, Kim Jeffers-Whitaker, Anderson County’s chief deputy director of human resources and risk management, said her department had received five reports of inappropriate workplace behavior by Jones.
“The five reports create a harassing pattern,” Jeffers-Whitaker said.
She said the reports are supported by two affidavits and four sworn statements that the county’s human resources department obtained from the victims, who include four past or present employees and one citizen.
According to Jeffers-Whitaker, the alleged instances of unprofessional conduct include: [Read more…]