Rep. Calvin Smyre strongly denies accusation of sexual misconduct in 1996

Rep. Calvin Smyre, a Columbus Democrat, has been in the Georgia General Assembly since 1975.
Rep. Calvin Smyre, a Columbus Democrat, has been in the Georgia General Assembly since 1975. Ledger-Enquirer file photo

A Fox News contributor and national Democratic party activist has alleged via social media that Columbus legislator Calvin Smyre sexually assaulted her in 1996 in Chicago.

Smyre, in a statement released on Sunday, strongly denies the accusation.

In a nine Tweet string on Friday, Jehmu Greene, who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic National Committee chairperson earlier this year, accused Smyre, the dean of the Georgia General Assembly, of the crime during the national convention 21 years ago.

Smyre agreed to Ledger-Enquirer answer questions emailed to him Monday.

“I have recently been made aware of a troubling accusation of sexual misconduct by touching,” Smyre’s statement read. “In an alleged 1996 incident, Jehmu Greene accuses me of touching her inappropriately in an elevator after a night of drinking during the 1996 Democratic Convention. I have not consumed any alcohol of any kind since 1993 and I know I am not the person who inappropriately touched her. I do not doubt the sincerity of her recollection or the legitimacy of her pain.”

Greene responded Smyre’s statement via Twitter.

“I remember clearly the monster that pushed me up against an elevator wall, shoved a hand between my legs & used the other to grab my breast,” Greene said via Twitter on Sunday night. “Its name is @CalvinSmyre. Every single time I've seen it sauntering around Democratic events I've been physically sickened by its presence.”

Greene made her allegation amid news of the alleged sexual assault by Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore. A woman told the Washington Post that Moore molested her when she was 14 years old, nearly four decades ago.

Survivors of sexual assault gave speeches during the #MeToo march in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday, November 12, a response to the recent string of sexual assault allegations in the entertainment industry. On Hollywood Boulevard, a podium was set

“As #RoyMooreChildMolester trends, Democrats need to figure out how we will purge the sexual predators and harassers out of our party,” Greene stated in her initial Twitter post on Friday.

Her claim is summed up in the second of the nine tweets.

“In 1996, I was sexually assaulted by @CalvinSmyre at the Democratic convention in Chicago. I reported it to the Deputy Political Director of the DNC and the Assistant to the Political Director. They both told me to stay quiet or risk never working for Democrats again. #metoo,” she tweeted.

Any accusation of sexual harassment, assault or predatory behavior should always be viewed as a serious matter, Smyre said in his statement.

“However, I do plan on defending myself against these false charges,” he said. “My legislative record reflects my strong support against sexual assault and for issues facing women in our society."

Smyre, 70, is a retired Synovus executive who has been involved in local, state and national Democratic party politics since the early 1970s. He is the longest serving member of the Georgia House, and he will enter his 44th year in the General Assembly in January.

Smyre has served as a super-delegate to the Democratic National Convention and been chairman of the National Caucus of Black Legislators.

As of noon Monday, the story has been reported by three Columbus television stations, but has not been reported by state or national media outlets.

Greene did not respond to a Twitter message request for an interview on Monday.

Chuck Williams: 706-571-8510, @chuckwilliams