A former leading state senator and prominent Nashville Democrat has been indicted on one felony count of sexual battery.
Joe M. Haynes is accused of sexually touching a woman without her consent, according to an indictment filed Monday in Nashville court.
The indictment states Haynes, who is an attorney, "did intentionally engage in unlawful sexual contact" with a 49-year-old woman in July 2016. The woman did not consent to the contact, according to the indictment.
“The woman reported that she had retained Haynes to represent her in legal matters related to the estate of her recently deceased mother. She reported that on July 25, 2016 during a visit to the property of her mother, Haynes attempted to French kiss her," and grabbed the woman's buttocks, said Metro Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron.
The Tennessean generally does not name people police say are victims of sexual assault.
Haynes was booked into jail Monday afternoon and did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. Davidson County Sheriff's Office records show he was released a few hours after he was booked. His bond was $2,500, so he needed to post $250 to be released.
Although Haynes retired from the legislature in 2012, he periodically returns to the statehouse. Lawmakers in several legislative committees this year publicly recognized Haynes and called for applause when they spotted him in the audience.
Haynes, 80, served nearly three decades in the Tennessee state Senate during a time when Democrats controlled the chamber. He held numerous leadership roles, including Senate Democratic Caucus chairman for 10 years, caucus treasurer and secretary for six years and caucus majority whip for one session.