House Candidate Jelks Has No Comment On Rape Allegation; Resigns As Vice Chairman Of The County Democratic Party; Coonrod Backs Women Making Allegations

  • Tuesday, September 14, 2021

House District 29 candidate Deangelo Jelks said he had no comment on allegations by a campaign worker that he had raped her.

He said, "I know what you are referring to, but I have been advised not to comment."

He did, however, resign as vice chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

Mr. Jelks has not been charged with any crime, but Chattanooga Police are investigating the case.

A woman on Sunday filed a report against him that was being checked out by police.

The Democratic candidate is running against Republican Greg Vital for the seat once held by Rep. Mike Carter.

The election is Tuesday.

City Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod said she met with the alleged rape victim on Sunday and was supporting her.

Ms. Coonrod said, "This year, powerful male politicians across the nation have fallen from grace as a consequence of their past indiscretions coming to light. Since the start of the Me-TooMovement, senators, congressmen and other elected officials have been publicly held to account by the voices of women and those who support them. Nevertheless, this pattern of patriarchal, dominant behavior is not just limited to high offices - it is happening in our own back yard. Allegations of rape and sexual misconduct have been leveled against an up-and-coming leader of the Hamilton County Democratic Party. 

"As a survivor of sexual assault, I choose to believe women who speak out against their perpetrators until there is proof otherwise. The decision to come forward about such a deeply painful and personal event is not only difficult, but it is terrifying. In times like these, my thoughts and empathy go out to the alleged victims as they begin the journey of healing and reclaiming the power that was so brutally taken from them. 

"Some have posed the question, 'How can you believe them without infallible proof?' We must remember that justice is blind. This is the Democratic Party’s moment to rise to the occasion by standing for true democratic values and supporting women. In this case, supporting women means listening when they come forward, advocating for them in the process and creating a safe zone where these values can flourish. As for the Hamilton County Democratic Party, there is an obligation to cultivate this so that victims are not discouraged from sharing their stories. And as painful as it, the women who are making these allegations must be willing to come forward openly with these accusations. 

"The Democratic Party that I know, and love would not shy away from this moment. This is the time for those who lead this party to truly lead. Leadership is not a characteristic that shows up only during the good, but also the bad. The testament of an honest leader is being able to make tough decisions during tough times, and in tough times like these, an unpopular decision is often best for the moral good. I know what it feels like to place your faith in something or someone and then that something or someone does not live up to your expectations. Though I hope at this moment, good-hearted people will not be disappointed, and we will witness resolute leadership. 


"We have a chance here in Hamilton County to exemplify what it means to truly be a democrat. We have a chance to take a stance against gendered violence and uphold the core principles claimed by modern Democrats. 


"This is our test. Will we pass it?"

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