Women request Knight be removed from state senate district 26 ballot

Women request Knight be removed from state senate district 26 ballot

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Two of the three women who successfully sued Alabama State University and its former chief operating officer John Knight in 2010 have written a letter to the Alabama Democratic Party.

Jacqueline Weatherly and Cynthia Williams are urging them to remove him as a candidate on the ballot for the state senate district 26 primary election set for Dec. 12.

"For them to give him Carte Blanche and allow him to do what he wants to do and face no repercussions for past actions, that's what prompted me," said Weatherly.

In 2010, Weatherly, Williams and Lydia Burkhalter filed a sexual harassment, retaliation, racial discrimination and hostile work environment lawsuit against Knight and others at ASU.

A jury of Knight's peers in the United States District Court, Middle District of Alabama found the allegations the women's complaint to be true and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the verdict on appeal. The three were awarded more than $1 million.

"It just took years away from me. You know the humiliation. I just can't stress enough they aren't going to keep this case buried," said Weatherly.

Given the facts and the courts decision Weatherly believes Knight staying on the ballot sends the wrong message.

"Those that come after him will think they can do anything they want to do and the public just accepts it. It isn't fair especially to the women of district 26 and Alabama as a whole," said Weatherly.

Knight continues to maintain his innocence in this matter. He sent WSFA this statement:

"This is an attempt to relitigate a case that has been settled already in a court of law. My community and the people that I represent know me and the hard work that I have done for all of our citizens. This is yet another attempt to disparage me and my career. Any discrimination or harassment be it racial or sexual is unacceptable, and I have worked hard to protect those rights."

Weatherly says this isn't a ploy against Knight but an attempt to bring awareness to a very serious issue.

"We want him to be accountable for what he has done and even more so what he has allowed to take place," she said.

Nancy Worley, chairwoman of the Alabama Democratic Party, says at this time they are refraining from commenting because the women's letter was sent via email and not sent by certified mail.

Weatherly says she will follow up.

The senate district 26 seat was previously held by Quinton Ross, who is now ASU's president. Deborah Anthony, Fred Bell, David Burkette and Tony Cobb Junior are running against Knight. The primary is Dec. 12.

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