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Emails reveal new details of allegation timelines in Jones case

Monday on “Ask Your Neighbor,” WYSH revealed the existence of emails between then Human Resources Director Russell Bearden and Law Director Jay Yeager that shows that, contrary to public comments and two sworn statements by Bearden, Yeager did in fact know about the first sexual harassment allegations leveled in 2015, but did nothing to address the situation.

In an email to WYSH, Yeager wrote last month that, “I did not know of the 2015 sexual harassment allegation regarding Mr. Jones because Russell was instructed not to tell me and he followed those orders from his direct superior, the mayor. I knew nothing of the incident until briefed in September of 2017. I knew nothing of the 2016 incident where the husband went to the mayor and made additional allegations, and neither did HR because the mayor did not tell my office or HR.”

Bearden also gave a sworn statement on February 27th, 2018 in which he repeated his assertions from a September 2017 affidavit concerning an incident that allegedly occurred in May of 2015 that the “complaint was investigated and reported to Ms. Terry Frank, Anderson County Mayor, who was also my direct supervisor.” His 2017 affidavit, however, makes no mention of being prohibited from contacting Yeager’s office.

However, according to emails obtained by WYSH, Bearden and Yeager communicated about the 2015 incident on May 6th, 2015.

Bearden writes to Yeager that he “wanted to make sure you got the exit interview from (redacted) that I sent last night. What is your advice, I can’t just let this type thing go. It would burn any bridges if I confront him.” The email continues by stating that “there is a specialized training put on by Ogletree Deakins that is a one-on-one session with a manager. It is meant to educate and to scare the poo out of someone just like this.”

Yeager replied that “Yes, I got the email. You can offer that program to him but you can’t force him to go. I’m not sure he realizes there is a problem.”

Bearden responded by asking, “What kind of pressure is available to force the training? From anyone?”

Yeager’s response was simply to say, “Only the voters.”

Jones is facing allegations from at least six women of sexual harassment and creating a hostile working environment.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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