published Friday, August 16th, 2013

Sexual harassment complaint against former Murray County judge dismissed

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A federal judge threw out a hostile work environment suit against a former Murray County judge who resigned in the middle of a state ethics investigation.

After former Murray County Chief Magistrate Bryant Cochran resigned last summer, three female employees that worked under him filed a complaint saying the judge touched their breasts and made sexual comments in the office.

While U.S. Judge Harold Murphy dismissed the claims, he didn’t dismiss Murray County from the suit, which means the female employees attorneys will have to show the county is responsible for Cochran's actions.

The women's attorney Stuart James said the case against Cochran isn't over, because he plans to sue the former judge now in state court.

"We will vigilantly pursue that claim," James said.

Cochran is also under federal criminal investigation and three people have been indicted in a conspiracy case against the woman who first accused the former judge of soliciting her for sex in his chambers.

Angela Garmley’s complaint against Cochran led to a state ethics investigation and to Cochran’s resignation.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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