Tennessee lawmaker ousted after sex harassment allegations: media

September 13, 2016 7:12 PM EDT

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NASHVILLE (Reuters) - A Tennessee lawmaker was expelled from the state's House of Representatives on Tuesday following accusations of widespread sexual harassment, media reported.

Republican state Representative Jeremy Durham was ousted by a vote of 70-2, according to the Tennessean newspaper, which said this was the state's first legislative expulsion since 1980.

Durham did not immediately respond to request for comment. The Tennessean reported that Durham said no formal complaint had been filed against him and that he has not been charged with a crime.

"I'm very pleased that the House made the decision it did today. This was good for the taxpayers of the state. It was good for the victims of the state," the newspaper quoted House Speaker Beth Harwell as saying.

A spokeswoman for Harwell's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A report released by Tennessee's attorney general in July accused Durham of inappropriate sexual conduct with 22 women over a four-year period. The report said Durham repeatedly made unwelcome sexual advances toward female legislative staff, interns and lobbyists.

Durham declined to be interviewed by investigators, the report said. His lawyer, Bill Harbison, said at the time that the report was politically motivated and unfair.

Harbison could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday.

The chairman of Tennessee's Republican Party, Ryan Haynes, said on Tuesday: "I am saddened that all of my former colleagues, both Republicans and Democrats, have been placed in this terrible position by the reprehensible misbehavior of one individual."

(Reporting by Tim Ghianni in Nashville and Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Writing by Timothy Mclaughlin; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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