TN State Rep. Mark Lovell Resigns Amid Allegations Of Inappropriate Sexual Conduct

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - The man who defeated long-time Tennessee State Representative Curry Todd last summer has resigned after allegations of sexual misconduct. Republican Mark Lovell's resignation comes just weeks after he was sworn in.

GOP party officials say a woman accused Rep. Lovell of touching her in an inappropriate way. We have learned she was a legislative staff worker, and that it wasn't the first time there have been questions about Lovell's behavior.

Lovell says he has no idea what these allegations are about. No idea who is making the charges, and that he resigned only after state republican leaders asked him to do so.

You'll remember republican Representative Jeremy Durham of Williamson County was expelled from the legislature after allegations of sexual misconduct. He fought to stay. Mark Lovell decided it's time to go.

Lovell took the oath of office January 10th. Voters chose him to represent District 95 last summer. That district includes Colliervile and bits of Germantown and Cordova. Now the republican from Eads is out.

"I had someone accuse me of some kind of misconduct,” Lovell told Local 24’s Mike Matthews. “My first words were, that's just not true. And then I get a phone call from the Republican leadership and they just basically said look, it doesn't matter if it’s true or not. You're going to get drug through the mud and so is the Republican party."

The incident in question supposedly happened last week after a legislative get together that included an open bar. No names have been released as to who made the complaint, and Lovell says he doesn't have any idea who did it.

"I don't know who it was. They haven't told me who it was. I couldn't really respond. All I know is this. I get up early in the morning every day and I get up there and do state representative business,” says Lovell.

Lovell is married, has children, and says he's already talked with his wife and everything is fine. He says the only reason he quit because, in his words, the republican party leaders told him to quit. The one person he says who hasn't said anything to him is speaker of the house Beth Harwell.

"I'm a fighter. This does not come across as a fighter. It comes across as a quitter. And it also comes across as, I would say, an admission of guilt. I've been around people and tried to persuade their thinking. And some people, I don't care how good a case you have, they're going to believe what they're going to believe and that's all there is to it."   

Mark Lovell ends his legislative career having served about five weeks. The Shelby County Commission will have to find a temporary replacement until a special election can be held.

We are told the earliest that will be is in early May.


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