Tribune-Courier General Manager
House District 6 Rep. Will Coursey of Marshall County says he has every intention to defend himself against allegations of sexual harassment and is planning to file a countersuit against his accuser.
Coursey’s attorney, Mark Edwards of Paducah, said the suit claiming defamation of character will likely be filed within the next couple of weeks.
He also said he and Coursey are considering an abuse of process claim against Cusic’s attorney, Thomas Clay of Louisville.
Nicole Cusic, former legislative assistant in Coursey’s Frankfort office, filed suit in Franklin Circuit Court last week alleging Coursey retaliated against her when she alleged he had engaged in harassing behavior toward female interns of the Legislative Research Commission in February 2012.
Cusic’s lawsuit was filed by Clay on the same day he filed another suit on behalf of two LRC staffers who say they were sexually harassed and assaulted by John Arnold, a Sturgis Democrat, who decided to resign last month.
The complaint filed by Cusic names the Legislative Research Committee, Bobby Sherman, its former director and Coursey.
The suit claims Coursey retaliated against Cusic after she went to him and discussed what she deemed inappropriate conduct with interns, representatives and LRC employees.
She said following the conversation she was initially moved out of Coursey’s office and into a separate office where she says she sat for a month with no work before being transferred to a republican Senator’s office.
According to the complaint, Cusic contends “she was shunned at work, felt humiliated, degraded, alienated and uncomfortable at work.”
Cusic is seeking a jury trial and unspecified compensatory damages in the lawsuit.
Coursey has vehemently denied the allegations in Cusic’s lawsuit.
“The allegations are categorically untrue,” Coursey said. “I do not have the authority to hire, fire or transfer staff at the LRC. I did express displeasure with Cusic’s attendance and work. Despite that, she did not suffer any loss of compensation or a demotion of any kind.”
Coursey’s Attorney, Mark Edwards of Paducah, issued a statement shortly after Clay filed the suit on behalf of Cusic saying, “The complaint mentions vague accusations and anonymous witnesses. Nobody with whom I have spoken ever heard the plaintiff complain about my client until these allegations were made public last week.”
“I am aware of no one else who shared the suite with Representative Coursey who heard any inappropriate comments or witnessed any inappropriate behavior from Representative Coursey,” he said.
Said Edwards, “We are going to aggressively defend Representative Coursey’s good name and reputation. If Ms. Cusic was shunned or if she felt any embarrassment or humiliation, as she alleges in her complaint, it had nothing to do with my client. I look forward to deposing the plaintiff, her anonymous witnesses and the republican officials with whom she met at the earliest opportunity.”