More complaints emerge about Anderson County court clerk

Two women who were terminated by William Jones have filed complaints, according to authorities. Their allegations are being investigated, according to the Anderson County law director.

Two more women have come forward to lodge harassment complaints against Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk William Jones, raising the total number to at least seven.

Anderson County Law Director Jay Yeager said the women came forward as a result of public attention regarding five current or former employees who have complained about Jones, a Republican first elected in 2014 and running this spring for re-election.

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"We're in the process of taking statements," Yeager said Tuesday. He said he couldn't comment further.

Some women who have complained were terminated by Jones. Others still work there, according to Yeager.

About 25 protesters gathered Monday afternoon outside the Anderson County Courthouse to show their support for victims of sexual harassment and to call for the resignation of Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk William Jones.

Related: Clerk called himself 'Daddy'

Related: Clerks says attacks are character assassiantion

In addition, Knoxville attorney Richard Collins told 10News he's been retained to represent one of the seven women. Collins said he could not comment except to confirm he now represents the woman, whose name has not been made public

On Feb. 20, Anderson County Commission voted unanimously to condemn Jones' alleged behavior. They called for him to step down, something he's declined to do.

Commission acted after hearing a presentation from Kim Whitaker, interim human resources director, about allegations against Jones. Human resources officials began an investigation in earnest last summer about Jones.

10News has obtained records in which women who worked for Jones said he'd sent vulgar social media messages, said inappropriate things to them, made comments about their dress, referred to himself as "Daddy" and bullied them.

Complaints about him date to at least 2015, records show, although a woman in her late 60s who was terminated by him filed an age discrimination suit against him in 2014 after he took office.

Jones has told 10News the attacks on him are "premeditated political character assassination". He's seeking re-election in May. His opponent is Rex Lynch, former Anderson County mayor who pleaded guilty in 2011 to sales tax fraud in connection with vehicle sales.

The clerk said he had engaged in some "minor offensive joking" with employees but nothing like that for which he's been accused.

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Jones said he's hiring counsel to fight the accusations.

Whitaker declined comment Tuesday about new allegations against Jones.

Yeager said from his perspective the complaints against Jones are not political. He's warned Jones and advised County Commission that Anderson County could be liable if Jones has done something illegal.

The law director's office got involved last year once complaints began to emerge against the clerk. Complaints previously have been made to Mayor Terry Frank as well.

"I don't have to look at it from a political perspective," Yeager said. "We've got to take action."