GA House Minority Leader Exonerated in Investigation, Women Officials Show Support

by Fulton Watch

The Georgia House Democratic Caucus issued a statement to address the inaccuracies and misinformation published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s opinion piece, which falsely portrayed the handling of a recent sexual harassment allegation against Leader James Beverly. The Caucus has emphasized the importance of taking allegations of sexual harassment seriously and has pledged to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation, ensuring that all parties receive a fair hearing.

PRESS RELEASE: June 17th, 2024

Atlanta, GA – We, the undersigned, are compelled to respond to the false comments made in the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) in Patricia Murphy’s opinion piece which included comments by a small group of members of the Georgia House Democratic Caucus regarding the serious allegations of sexual harassment made against Leader James Beverly.

The Georgia House Democratic Caucus did not take lightly the allegations made against Leader Beverly. From the outset, our priority has been to protect the employee involved and ensure due process for the accused. Each member of the Georgia General Assembly takes an oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the State of Georgia and the United States. This includes ensuring that every individual receives due process under the law.


       “Democratic leaders chose the investigator to review the allegations.”

FALSE.   The Caucus voted to go to the ACLU, an impartial body, and seek their recommendation of an impartial and independent attorney to conduct an internal investigation and that the Caucus would then follow their recommendation. As is the case in any Caucus meeting, all members have the opportunity to ask questions, offer motions and deliberate upon the same.

       “Democratic leaders then dismissed the matter without a vote by the full caucus.”

FALSE.  Democratic Leaders did not dismiss the matter. In fact, the Democratic Leaders do not have authority to do so. The employee member at issue is the only person with the authority to dismiss or otherwise decline to pursue this matter. The staff member still has the opportunity to pursue this matter and to our knowledge has never sought to be represented by counsel.

       “ …a group of female Democratic lawmakers in Georgia is livid over recently disclosed allegations”

RESPONSE. It is misleading to suggest, “a group of female Democratic lawmakers speak for all of the women of the caucus or even the majority. We represent the women and men of the caucus who strive for the truth.  So, these women do not speak for us, the undersigned.


       Rep. Romman  “the Democratic party is the party of women’s rights, labor and worker’s protection, and that Democrats believe all people deserve to live free from abuse and fear” and is now calling on Beverly to step down as leader”

RESPONSE: The call for Leader Beverly to step down first occurred on the House floor on Sine Die prior to Beverly being informed of the charges. In fact, Rep. Shea Roberts and Rep. Stacey Evans breached the employee’ss request for confidentiality and the request that the complaint stay within the leadership (Rep. Stacey Evans does not hold a leadership position). Representatives Roberts and Evans called for Leader Beverly’s resignation on the floor during the last day of the Session right after learning about the complaint and before he was fully informed of the charges, further violated the employee’s’s request for confidentiality and further acted in complete disregard of Leader Beverly’s right to   due process.. To request a person to step down after an accusation and deny the accused any due process is unjust. We affirm the statement made by Rep. Ruwa Romman that the Democratic Party stands for women’s rights, labor, and worker protections. We believe all individuals deserve to live free from abuse and fear, and we uphold the Constitutional right to due process.

       “He has refused to step down.”

RESPONSE:  Why should Leader Beverly step down? The allegations made against him were proven unsubstantiated. He has spent a decade serving the people of GA and we live in a country of laws, where a person should not be penalized based solely on an unfounded allegation.

       “…pattern of sexual harassment against her both before and during her pregnancy.”

RESPONSE:  The employee did not show a pattern. She pointed to isolated occurrences, specifically:

1)   Question about intent to get pregnant during the interview.  Response: Failed to mention that she was hired, promoted and admitted that her pregnancy had no impact on her job. Employee admitted in her own statement that when she told Leader Beverly about her pregnancy, he “appeared to be happy for her” and “did not say anything during the conversation that” she “found to be inappropriate.” 

2)   Greeting employee by touching her lapel.  Response:  Employee stated that when Leader Beverly touched her lapels, it was admittedly “brief; only seconds long.” 


3)   “In another world that baby would be mine…” Response: Leader Beverly vehemently denies making that statement. In the loud environment, he specifically recalls saying, “In another life, I would have another baby.”

What is not stated, as she chronicles in her own words, that it was the employee who initially greeted Leader Beverly with a hug (as she frequently did), almost an hour after he briefly touched her lapel. The employee subsequently sought out Leader Beverly and stated, “You’ve been a great Leader and I’m happy I got to serve with you.” Furthermorein response to Leader Beverly stating, “I’m ready to get out of here,” the employee stated, “It’s going to be sad. But it won’t be as bad since I won’t be here.  I’ll be on maternity leave, so that will soften the blow.”

Clearly, these are not the words or actions of someone who believed that they were being continually sexually harassed or treated unfairly in any way. 

       “I had to speak up because Leader Beverly called a pregnant woman a liar.”

RESPONSE: Leader Beverly did not call her a liar. He defended himself against claims made against him, which is a play as old as history itself. He defended his own reputation. 

       “The Caucus is not a court and never should have tried to make itself one.

RESPONSE:  As stated earlier, Rep. Evans and Rep. Roberts called for Leader Beverly to resign prior to the leadership informing him of the full charges, in violation of the staff member wanting this to remain confidential, and without due process for the accused.  After the vote of the Caucus, we moved forward for an independent investigation by a third party to ensure transparency, fairness, and no internal influences.  The third party was the ACLU, which selected the attorney to perform the investigation. This investigator is a well-credentialed female attorney and part-time Fulton County Magistrate judge. The Caucus through a vote set the parameters of the investigation.  Demanding a person step down and resign prior to due process and/or an investigation is making the people who push such a demand the “judge and jury”.

       “Investigative process Democratic Leadership used was wrong.”


Democratic Leadership sought advice and guidance from three agencies: the Human Resources director, the Ethics Department, and an attorney from the Democratic Party, in an effort to address the allegation of sexual harassment. Nevertheless, it was discovered that there does not currently exist a sexual harassment policy within the Blue PAC or the GHDC.  However, we will draft a policy to address the issue of sexual harassment going forward.

The investigative process was the one that was agreed to by the entire Democratic Caucus that could not deviate from the process that the Caucus approved. Furthermore, the independent investigator was not engaged to conduct an ethics investigation, but rather, to determine if a claim of sexual harassment could be substantiated. Words matter, sexual harassment is not a catchall for all forms of alleged inappropriate or offensive conduct or commentary.

The false comparison to former President Trump is irresponsible and intentionally inflammatory. The members who contributed to the editorial are advocating for immediate punitive measures without due process, which is dangerous. The findings do not diminish the seriousness of the concerns raised by the complaining party or the importance of addressing them. That is why we had the investigation.

Where was the outrage of these members and the Atlanta Journal Constitution last term, when other members of the Georgia House of Representatives were accused of much more egregious sexual harassment allegations… What is the difference between those members and Leader Beverly?

The conjecture, speculation and innuendo in Ms. Murphy’s column – written in favor of a fellow alumni of Vanderbilt University – has no place in non-biased journalism, and certainly not in an independent investigation.

The Georgia House Democratic Caucus remains committed to transparency, fairness, and the protection of all its members and staff. We will continue to uphold these values and work diligently to ensure that our processes are just and respectful to all parties involved.

Published by: Erin Jones

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