Anderson clerk accuses opponent amid abuse reports; opponent responds

William Jones suggested opponent Rex Lynch knew last summer allegations of sexual harassment would emerge against Jones. Lynch, however, said he's had nothing to do with an ongoing investigation in which several women accuse Jones of sexual harassment.

Anderson County's Circuit Court clerk is reiterating his argument that he's become a political target as complaints by female employees continue to mount against him.

"I ask that you stand by my wife and I as we say enough is enough," William Jones' emailed statement reads. "Together, we will not back down. Together, we will continue to work to earn your vote."

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The Anderson County Commission called on him last month to resign after hearing a presentation by county human resources officials about allegations involving five women against Jones, first elected in 2014.

Records obtained by 10News detail instances in which Jones sent a woman a vulgar Snapchat message, made remarks about women's breasts, bullied female employees and asked them inappropriate and illegal questions about their personal lives. Women have reported rampant turnover in Jones' office since he took over, records show.

He's seeking re-election May 1. He faces Rex Lynch, former Anderson County mayor who pleaded guilty in 2011 to sales tax fraud in connection with some vehicle sales.

On Tuesday, 10News reported that two additional women had come forward, reporting to Anderson County authorities that they'd suffered harassment by Jones.

Related: More complaints emerge about Jones

More: Commissioners condemn Jones' alleged behavior

Jones previously issued a statement to 10News in which he said he was the subject of political character assassination.

On Wednesday, he said in a statement: "I tell you today and those behind these political attacks that I am here to stay."

He also said he'd heard "a rumor" that Lynch was spreading word last year that "something big" was going to come out about Jones.

In August, county human resources officials began interviewing several women who worked or had worked for Jones. Interim director Kim Whitaker presented those findings at the commission meeting last month.

Complaints against Jones date to 2015. A woman who worked briefly for him that year said he'd asked her illegal questions and made inappropriate remarks to her.

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In 2014, Jones also fired a woman in her 60s soon after taking office. He alleged she was insubordinate; she said she was let go because of her age. The case was settled for $20,000.

"We have done good work," Jones' Wednesday statement reads. "I ask you, the people of Anderson County, to see this blatant attempt to hurt my family for what it is."

Lynch said he had nothing to do with the decision by Anderson County commissioners to unanimously censure Jones and call for his resignation.

"I had no control of the information regarding Mr. Jones' misconduct," he said in a statement to 10News Wednesday. "The timing of the release of these facts had nothing to do with me or my campaign.

"I personally wish the information had been released months ago."

Lynch said he wants to focus on improving the Clerk's Office's operations and "restore competence to the office of Clerk."

On Wednesday, Jones read his statement on air during a WYSH radio broadcast.

Also, Ryan Spitzer called in to the show. He said his wife is one of Jones' accusers.

Spitzer is an assistant district attorney general in the Anderson County District Attorney General's Office. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Clark previously has investigated a separate complaint by a former Jones employee. He told the woman in a Jan. 29 letter obtained by 10News that there wasn't enough evidence to proceed with a criminal case against Jones based on information he'd been provided.