Tennessee lawmaker accused of sexual misconduct with former students says he won’t resign

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee lawmaker says he will not resign after Nashville’s WSMV reported allegations by three women accusing him of inappropriate sexual misconduct more than 30 years ago.

The women were reportedly coached by Rep. David Byrd at Wayne County High School in the late 1980s.

Christi Rice said she was 15-years-old when Byrd touched her inappropriately. She also said the pair kissed on multiple occasions in an office after practice and once outside her home.

During one incident, he reportedly touched her over her clothes and tried to make her touch him inappropriately.

Years later, she reportedly called him and secretly recorded their conversation which was obtained by the news station.

In the recording, Rice reportedly started off by simply saying “David, you know exactly what happened 30 years ago.”

The entire recorded conversation was not released and the parts that were aired did not contain the sound bite where Rice actually accused him of sexual misconduct.

He then apologized, but again there were no specific details about what he was apologizing for.

“I wish I had a do-over because I promise you I would have corrected that and that would’ve never happened,” Byrd said. “But I hope you believe me when I say that it’s one of those things that I think about it all the time, and I always ask forgiveness for it and I hope you forgive me.”

“It’s one of those things I’ve really beaten myself up and I don’t know if you believe that or not,” Byrd continued. “But I do. All the time. There hasn’t been a Sunday that’s gone by when I’m doing my communion and everything and I’m asking forgiveness for sins, my sins, that’s one of the things that I do.”

He went on to deny there were any other students with whom he had a relationship. However, WSMV talked with two other women from the same graduating class who claimed to have similar experiences with the former coach.

Robbie Cain told the new station Byrd tried to touch her in a hotel swimming pool during a team road trip.

“His words were: ‘I want you to feel how you make me feel. I want you to feel it throbbing,'” she told WSMV.

The other student – who asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons – described how she walked into his hotel room after seeing him with another girl. She said she sat down on the bed and Byrd began giving her a massage.

“When I laid down he positioned himself to where his penis was between my butt cheeks and he started rubbing my back and then he put his hands under my shoulders to rub me, and he went to the sides of my breasts underneath my arms,” she said.

During another incident, Byrd allegedly asked her for a “good night kiss” which she refused.

 

Hours before WSMV’s report Tuesday, House Speaker Beth Harwell’s spokeswoman Kara Owen told the station Harwell thinks Byrd should resign.

A spokesman said Byrd plans to fight most of the allegations and had no intention of resigning.

Republican Rep. Jeremy Durham was expelled over sexual misconduct allegations in September 2016 and Republican Rep. Mark Lovell resigned over allegations in February.