The Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery (R) office will investigate accusations that state Rep. Jeremy Durham (R) sent inappropriate text messages to female legislative employees, Nashville television station WKRN reported.
Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell (R) asked the attorney general to conduct “an independent investigation into the facts surrounding [Durham]’s ongoing situation,” according to WKRN.
“Additionally, I have asked them to issue a report with their findings. If and when an expulsion resolution comes before the House of Representatives, the report could be part of that process,” she said in a statement, according to WKRN.
Durham resigned from his position as House majority whip on Sunday after The Tennessean reported that he sent numerous messages to women asking to meet up at bars and for photos. He denies sexually harassing anyone and has not stepped down from his seat in the legislature. But Durham disassociated himself from the GOP caucus and went on a two-week leave of absence starting part way through this week.
Since the sexual assault allegations surfaced, Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R) on Thursday suggested that Durham also had an affair with a fellow lawmaker who was then forced to resign. Durham also denied that allegation.
House leaders are now pushing to expel Durham from the legislature. Before reports about Durham’s texting habit, lawmakers were already concerned about two other incidents involving the lawmaker. He had written a reference letter for a pastor who had pleaded guilty to statutory rape and possession of child pornography. And Durham was investigated for allegedly trying to fill an outdated prescription.