MARCH 29 – House Speaker Beth Harwell and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, both Republicans, want a lawmaker’s resignation after three women have accused him in a report of sexual misconduct as their high school basketball coach decades ago.
Hours before Nashville station WSMV-TV’s report Tuesday evening, Harwell spokeswoman Kara Owen told the station Harwell thinks Republican Rep. David Byrd, who represents Hardin, Wayne, Lewis and Lawrence counties, should resign. In the report, two women allege Byrd inappropriately touched them. The third said Byrd tried to.
McNally joined Harwell in calling for Byrd’s resignation Wednesday.
One woman said she called Byrd last month and recorded it. In the call, which WSMV-TV aired, Byrd apologized but didn’t detail his actions, and denied anything happened with other students.
A spokesman said Byrd plans to fight most allegations and had no intention of resigning.
In a statement Wednesday, Byrd said that these “recent allegations of inappropriate contact, never made before, date back over three decades ago and are disheartening to me, and my family. One must question the motives of these three former students out of the hundreds of students I have coached.”
“I do not condone sexually inappropriate behavior...” Byrd said, “and I seek to live in a way that reflects my Biblical beliefs. One of these beliefs rests on the premise that we are all God’s children and should be free from abuse of any kind. I do not believe that either of these ladies can show that they made a report to the authorities or received any subsequent mental health counseling for what they have alleged but, again, if my acts or omissions cause them distress I am truly sorry.”