Attorney Lawson Denies Alleged Sexual Harassment

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Attorney Charles Lawson has denied he sexually harassed a 20-year-old employee of Big River Grille, and he said he has witnesses to prove it.

The employee, Ashley Burgess, is suing the 42-year-old attorney with Chambliss, Bahner and Stophel in Circuit Court.

The suit, which asks $500,000 in damages, claims that attorney Lawson told the employee how "beautiful" she was, then he slammed her against a brick wall, grabbed her by the hair and proceeded to fondle her and rub against her private area.

He was charged with sexual battery, and he entered a judicial diversion to the lesser charge of assault.

Attorney Lawson, in an answer, said he did go from a restaurant next door with a beer to Big River Grille and the employee told him he could not enter. He said there was no sexual assault, however.

He said co-workers of the employee as well as a woman who was with him that night declared they did not see it happen.

The answer said the plaintiff told a co-worker that if she went along with the allegations that she would give her a share of the proceeds.

It says the plaintiff in a My.Space posting listed her income as "$250,000 and higher." It was noted the suit asks $250,000 compensatory and $250,000 exemplary damages.

The My.Space page was headed "Its Ashley B----" and listed her mood as "naughty," the answer notes. She says in the posting, "I make an awful enemy. I DARE you to mess with me. I won't beat you up, but my best friend will."

The answer says the allegations were aimed at generating media attention and pressuring the attorney into settling the case.

Tracy Vandergriff and Jonathan Vickery said attorney Lawson did not appear intoxicated that night.

Heather McRoy said she was with attorney Lawson at the encounter with Ms. Burgess and said he did not slam her into a wall or fondle her.


Assistant City Attorney Unhappy With City's New Font

City Councilman Chairman Chip Henderson said he has a request from an assistant city attorney to drop using the city's distinctive new font, Chatype, for the weekly agendas. He said Phil Noblett wants to go back to Times New Roman. Attorney Noblett was not available to state his beef with Chatype. Councilman Chris Anderson said, "I have great objections to that. This is ... (click for more)

Police Blotter: $8,000 Piece Of Roofing Equipment Stolen While Vehicle At Williams Street Motel

Jose Gonzalez said someone stole an $8,000 piece of roofing equipment from his 2004 Ford while it was parked at the Motel 6 on Williams Street. He said the thief forced open his side door and took the Varimat V2 robot. A video showed a vehicle pull beside the Ford at 6:30 a.m. and leave 10 minutes later. Some movement could be seen outside the vehicle. * * * Carmela ... (click for more)

Congrats To Super Citizen Helen Burns Sharp - And Response

Congratulations to super-citizen Helen Burns Sharp on both her initial IDB lawsuit and on Chancellor Fleenor's ruling.  Also, I wish her well on her current action. It's a shame that a private citizen such as Ms. Sharp has to invest so much time and money to keep a government agency honest.  Three cheers and thumbs up.  I thank her.  R.J. Johnson  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Apollos Hester’s Way

East View High was trailing at halftime by a pair of touchdowns in last Friday night’s game against unbeaten Vandegrift. But the players at the Georgetown, Texas, school each have a sticker on the back of their helmets that says “TPW” which is a constant reminder that “Tough People Win.” Then there is “attitude” and that is where running back Apollos Hester steps in. In what ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Rally Tops CCS In Volleyball

The Chattanooga Christian volleyball team went to Notre Dame on Aug. 26 and claimed a big District 7-AA win over the Lady Irish. Notre Dame returned the favor on Tuesday night at CCS. Playing before a near-capacity crowd that was loud and supportive, the Lady Irish improved to 16-11 overall and 4-2 in 7-AA with the 3-2 victory in a match that could have gone either way. ... (click for more)

Baylor Rallies In Second Set, Cruises Past East Hamilton

East Hamilton needed to get even with Baylor in Tuesday’s non-league volleyball match on the Lady Hurricanes’ home court. After losing the first set, the Lady Hurricanes led 15-10 and felt good about having an opportunity to extend the match to at least four games. Then the Lady Red Raiders turned up the heat. Baylor (31-6), coming off a loss to Charlotte Country ... (click for more)