There was a sequence of events yesterday that was so ridiculous we just wanted to make sure to connect the dots for everyone.
🚨NEW VIDEO: “That’s gonna happen soon.”@GovBillLee Says Rep. David Byrd, who apologized on tape to 1 of 3 women who say he sexually abused them in high school, will be gone “soon”. Let’s hold him to it.
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) July 10, 2019
A spokesperson for the governor now says this video is a misunderstanding.
Laine Arnold told me the governor thought he was talking about Speaker Glen Casada and the special session to remove him from his position. @NC5
— Kyle Horan (@KyleHoranNC5) July 10, 2019
Yesterday the Tennessean ran a jaw-dropping article in which former Rep. Barry Doss (R-Lawrenceburg) was quoted as saying Rep. David Byrd – who has apologized on tape to 1 of 3 women who say he sexually abused them when he was their high school basketball coach – has admitted he’s “ashamed of his past” but that “God has forgiven him”.
Doss also recently approached Kristina Richardson of Enough Is Enough – Tennessee and defended Byrd by saying that “There’s a lot more people that have molested people than you’re letting on.”
The “everyone does” it defense is an interesting one to use when it comes to child sex abuse.
He even seemed to implicate Governor Lee as someone with skeletons in his closet. The whole thing has to be seen to be believed. WATCH THE VIDEO:
The other man in the video is Kevin Baigert, who runs the Roving Patriots PAC with his wife Laura, and who was involved with helping to launch the Tennessee Star, a right-wing propaganda outlet (whose CEO owes his ex-wife hundreds of thousands in child support).
In the video Baigert tells Kristina that if she wants to go after Byrd she needs to go after Rep. Rick Staples also, as well as Martin Luther King Jr., even though neither have admitted on tape to child sex abuse with teenage girls.
Richardson also makes the astute point that as a Hardin County resident David Byrd is her representative, and Martin Luther King Jr. is not. She then tells the two men she is not being paid, and says she is one of 6 women of Enough Is Enough who are speaking up about the Byrd issue on behalf of the survivors.
Kristina handled herself well. Truly fascinating to watch Doss and Baigert essentially mount the “Everyone does it” defense on behalf of Byrd, whose behavior Doss repeatedly insists he is not “condoning”.
It’s important to note that what Doss does NOT say is “Byrd didn’t do it.”
At the same event we saw Senator Joey Hensley call Byrd a “good person” and a changed man, which tells us that Republicans have abandoned the “Byrd didn’t do it” defense – clearly realizing nobody was buying that – and have now moved on to saying he did it but he’s a new man, a good Christian and that since God has forgiven him we all should too.
Ironically, Governor Lee JUST THIS WEEK signed a bill that removed statute of limitations for child sex abuse that passed the house and senate easily.
So to sum up the Republican position: Child sex abusers should be punished regardless of how much time has passed… unless you’re David Byrd.
The hypocrisy runs deep.
We should note that Governor Lee has left the door open to expelling Byrd in the upcoming August 23rd special session to replace Glen Casada as speaker. Between now and then, everyone in Tennessee should be showing up at town halls and hollering at every elected official to ask ON TAPE if they agree Byrd Must Go.
Salute to Kristina for this video. Please send all other videos of reps being asked our way: TheTNHoller@gmail.com
NEW: “Deberry Calls Abortion BLACK GENOCIDE”
Rep. John DeBerry, Jr. supported the “Heartbeat Bill”, which forces a woman to carry her rapist’s child to term, as well as @GovBillLee‘s public school-harming vouchers. @PPact has put up 3 billboards in Memphis about Deberry. pic.twitter.com/pfb3V00jP1
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) June 11, 2019
Beyond our wildest dreams we never would have imagined the great John Oliver shining his light on the ugliness that is Casadagate, but that glorious day has arrived.
If you’ve ever wanted to hear John Oliver say the words “Cade Cothren’s Rapidly-Expelled Ejaculate”, now is your chance.
We wish he would have mentioned his support for Rep. Byrd, and possibly framing Justin Jones, but hey- we’ll take what we can get.
Danny Claud Hensley, a former Dixie Youth umpire and crossing guard at Lewis County Elementary School, entered no contest pleas to two counts of assault on May 22, 2019 in Hickman County Circuit Court, according to the Lewis County Herald.
Hensley recently testified at the state legislature to help pass the Leigh Ann Act – HB1340 by Rep. Clay Doggett (R-Lawrenceburg), SB1163 by Sen. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) – which creates a Class A misdemeanor for violating a no contact order issued to a domestic violence victim.
The bill is named for his daughter Leigh Ann Hensley, who was shot to death by a man in a domestic dispute. Hensley gave emotional testimony at the Judiciary committee, and held a picture of Leigh Ann as he spoke, saying:
“I had never taken domestic violence serious until it hit us.”
The indictment against Hensley states Grand Jurors for Lewis County presented that Hensley “unlawfully, intentionally and knowingly, did cause physical contact with Coleen Kimbro, which a reasonable person would regard as extremely offensive or provocative” (Victim’s name used with permission).
Hensley was sentenced to six months probation, and a no contact order was put in place regarding the victim and her parents.
Kimbro tells the Holler many of the legislators responsible for bringing Hensley in to testify, and for getting his bill passed, were made aware of the situation, including Speaker Glen Casada:
“Speaker of The House Glen Casada was informed about Danny Hensley being brought up on 5 counts of charges. Rep. Bruce Griffey, Senator Joey Hensley, Rep. Clay Doggett, Rep. David Byrd, Mark Hall and Chief of Police Sam Livingston all knew about Hensley being indicted and charged with 5 counts of assault, as well as the felony forgery charges, and still sponsored and endorsed not only the bill but Hensley as well. The Chief of Police, was his former employer and is his friend and Pastor.
Can You Say Good Ole Boy?”
“Victims are not out to destroy other people and their reputations, victims simply want to move forward and not have to live in fear.”
“Danny Hensley was sworn to protect and serve and instead he preyed on the most vulnerable. He knew I was already a victim of rape and domestic assault and used his position as a sitting board member at the Shelter and as an officer at the Hohenwald Police Department to abuse and assault me. Danny Hensley used his positions to threaten me with his friends in power. He kept me in fear and made me feel as though there was no way a victim could ever trust an officer or ever expect any justice. In Danny Hensley’s own words, ‘no woman should live in fear’, and yet I lived in fear daily because of Danny Hensley, who portrayed himself to be a protector of women while he was abusing me.I pray that Danny Hensley is never put in a position where he is able to harm another individual again, because the emotional damage they suffer is lifelong compared to the short sentence he will serve.”
“Victims see men in power portraying themselves as heroes while the men torment and prey on the most vulnerable and make them feel even more vulnerable and abused. Sadly, I begged for help before the bill was passed and no one cared. Now that the bill has passed they have given a predator immortality, and only victimized his victim more by refusing to act when I begged for help.”
Hensley also entered conditional pleas of guilty to 4 counts of forgery, for which he was sentenced to pay court costs and serve two years supervised probation. Four charges of misdemeanor theft were dismissed as part of the plea negotiations.
In April of 2018 he was released from umpire duties for Lewis County Dixie Youth Baseball and Softball by the board of directors via an official letter claiming Mr. Hensley had kept two different Lewis County Dixie Youth paychecks that belonged to at least two different umpires, forged the umpires signatures of endorsement on the back of the checks, and cashed them.
Back in April, conservative commentator Steve Gill, who publishes the Tennessee Star, wrote an attack piece on Knox County teacher Lauren Sorenson. Gill’s beef with Sorenson seems to be that she had the gall to stand up and speak out for her fellow teachers and also advocate on behalf of students across the state. Gill used Sorenson’s affiliation with the “Badass Teachers Association” (BATs) to label her a “BAT out of Hell.”
Like so many in leadership roles in our state, Gill apparently prefers that teachers keep their voices quiet rather than highlight the unpleasant facts about the teaching profession and our state’s chronically under-funded schools.
Gill has been a consistent supporter of using public money to support private schools by way of voucher schemes. More recently, he’s come to the defense of embattled (and soon to be former) House Speaker Glen Casada. He’s even backed admitted sex offender David Byrd.
That’s why it is so shocking to learn that while Lauren Sorenson is busy fighting for all kids and educating young minds in Knox County, Gill is failing to live up to his parental responsibilities.
The Tennessean has more:
Conservative commentator and former political candidate Steve Gill must pay his ex-wife $170,000 in 10 days or go to jail, a Williamson County judge has ruled.
In a ruling entered into the court on Sunday, Judge James G. Martin sided with Kathryn B. Gill, who was seeking nearly $236,000 for various expenses related to the divorced couple’s sons.
Kathryn Gill was seeking $86,000 in child support from Steve Gill, in addition to $4,400 in medical expenses, $133,000 in college expenses and another $11,000 for a car she purchased for the children’s use.
Or, maybe it is not at all surprising that a guy who defends Glen Casada and David Byrd would attack a strong woman fighting for a better future for our state.
Footage from the “Stop the Bans” rally at the capitol in Nashville day, where hundreds gathered to oppose the draconian abortion bans we’re seeing throughout the country.
(Drone footage from Alex Kent)
Footage from the anti-Casada protest at the capitol, and from the House Republicans caucus vote to decide his fate yesterday.
Casada has agreed to resign, but that isn’t enough. He needs to leave the legislature altogether.