House District 6 Rep. Will Coursey of Marshall County denies the accusation of sexual harassment that has been claimed by a former Legislative Research Commission employee who was formerly assigned to Coursey’s office.
Coursey’s attorney, Mark Edwards of Paducah, spoke on behalf of Coursey Friday.
“Will denies that there is any truth to the allegations,” Edwards said. He added that he and Coursey did not know any specifics of the claim made by Nicole Cusic, who says she was punished when she complained about Coursey’s behavior and was transferred to a different job.
Louisville attorney Thomas Clay said Wednesday that Cusic, his client, will file suit against the Legislative Research Commission and its former director, Bobby Sherman, claiming that she was punished after she complained about sexual harassment while she worked in Coursey’s office.
Gannett Newspapers reported last week that Cusic said Coursey repeatedly tried to date interns in his office, told inappropriate jokes and make inappropriate statements about an LRC staff member.
Coursey denied the accusation.
“I can tell you 100 percent, there have been no inappropriate conversations,” he said, according to a report published in the Louisville Courier-Journal and Northern Kentucky Post in Cincinnati, both Gannett-owned newspapers.
“The woman did work in his office,” Edwards said. “She was an employee of the LRC, not an employee of Will’s.”
Edwards said the woman had a work history of “about 20 percent absence.”
“When she did come in she was tardy and would not do some things that he asked her to do. The LRC moved her at Will’s request,” Edwards said. “It had nothing to do” with any harassment complaint.
When she was relocated to a suite of offices used by other legislators, “there were some concerns about her working there,” Edwards said. “That’s when she went to Mr. Clay with these allegations.”
Cusic’s complaint is the second in recent weeks about a western Kentucky legislator. Rep. John Arnold of Sturgis, who had held the District 7 seat since 1995, resigned Sept. 13 after legislative workers Yolanda Costner and Cassaundra Cooper lodged complaints against Arnold.
Costner and Cooper are also represented by Clay.
Sherman resigned Sept. 20, citing the stress he endured during an internal review of sexual harassment complaints lodged against Arnold.
Sherman is now under fire for allegedly shredding documents pertinent to the investigation of Arnold. An investigation by Kentucky State Police into the matter has been launched.
Coursey, 34, who has a Symsonia rural route address, lives in western Marshall County. He was elected in 2008 to the seat held by long-time representative J.R. Gray of Benton.
District 6 includes Lyon and Marshall counties and part of McCracken County.