State House candidate Jelks accused of rape, resigns from Hamilton County Democratic Party leadership

State House candidate DeAngelo Jelks has resigned as vice chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party after being accused of raping a girl throughout his marketing campaign.

Jelks, 40, is a captain within the U.S. Army Reserve, a married father of two and the Democratic nominee vying to signify northern and japanese components of Hamilton County within the state House of Representatives.

Jelks is seeking to fill the District 29 seat left by the late Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, who died early in the summertime.

On Sunday, two days earlier than the particular election, a rape report was filed naming Jelks because the suspect, in response to the Chattanooga Police Department. A spokesperson stated a particular victims unit investigator has been assigned to the case.

Further particulars in regards to the case and the report filed Sunday cannot be shared with the general public till the investigation is accomplished, division spokesperson Elisa Myzal stated.

Jelks didn’t reply to messages through the day on Monday, then declined remark on the entrance door of his Ooltewah residence within the night.

Chattanooga Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod stated the alleged sufferer contacted her final week and advised her story.


Councilwoman Demetres Coonrod’s letter on sexual misconduct in Hamilton County Democratic Party


According to Coonrod, she didn’t beforehand know the lady who reached out Wednesday and stated Jelks had raped her previously few weeks of the marketing campaign.

After assembly with Coonrod, the accuser — a girl who had labored with Jelks throughout his marketing campaign — went to the Chattanooga Police Department to file a criticism, Coonrod stated.

“I advised her the one possible way we will do something is that if she comes ahead and goes to the police,” Coonrod advised the Times Free Press. “So she went Sunday and met with a detective on the Family Justice Center and bought a DNA swab.”

According to Coonrod, the lady additionally handed over proof from the alleged assault when she filed the report.

Coonrod, a sufferer of sexual assault and home violence recognized to advocate for ladies, stated she felt it was her accountability to assist the alleged sufferer.

“This is a severe allegation. And we’re not going to mess around with it, you realize, and we should not make ladies really feel like that they cannot come ahead with info and we should not be prejudging the intentions behind it,” Coonrod stated. “And we should not simply assume he is responsible both, however we now have to take it severely and we now have to research it, regardless of somebody’s get together or colour or no matter.

“We should do due diligence.”

In addition to convincing the alleged sufferer to file a report, Coonrod despatched a launch to media Sunday, referring with out specifics to accusations towards an “up-and-coming” chief within the get together and calling for her contemporaries to “consider ladies.”

In the assertion, she criticized the get together for what she perceived as an absence of motion and invoked the values of the #MeToo motion, which has provoked investigations and justice towards males accused of sexual misconduct since its 2017 inception.

“This 12 months, highly effective male politicians throughout the nation have fallen from grace as a consequence of their previous indiscretions coming to mild. Since the beginning of the Me-Too Movement, senators, congressmen, and different elected officers have been publicly held to account by the voices of ladies and those that help them. Nevertheless, this sample of patriarchal, dominant habits is not only restricted to excessive workplaces — it’s occurring in our personal yard,” her assertion stated.

On Monday, Coonrod confirmed to the Times Free Press that the assertion was in regards to the scenario with Jelks, which she stated she addressed with the candidate and with Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Rodney Strong final week.

“I felt like, you realize … he [Jelks] wanted to step down, not less than till there is a correct investigation round it,” Coonrod stated Monday. “Because if there was going to be a police report or he was responsible or bought arrested, he could be performing as vice chair when it occurred.

“I felt the get together wanted to take this severely from the second we heard about this.”

On Monday, Strong advised the Times Free Press that Jelks had texted his resignation from his place as vice chairman Sunday, the day the report was filed.

Strong stated he heard in regards to the allegations from Coonrod on Friday, then advised Jelks about them, and Jelks resigned Sunday.

Strong stated the get together had not been made conscious of the criticism in sufficient time to take motion of its personal earlier than Jelks resigned.

“There is a protocol. If he had not chosen to resign, inside our bylaws, there is a course of the place you may have any officer or government committee member eliminated,” Strong stated. “It requires a 20-day discover and as a particular setting of a enterprise assembly for that function. And in order that half of the method had not even had time to kick in but.”

A brand new vice chairman will likely be elected at a later date, Strong stated.

Asked if the get together was nonetheless backing Jelks in his election, Strong stated the group had not had any dialogue but.

“That’s one thing I actually cannot touch upon. There has not been time to make — you realize I am unable to arbitrarily say by some means,” Strong stated. “The timing is such that we now have not reached that time to decide about that.”

Some former supporters distanced themselves from Jelks over the weekend.

Screen seize of a Facebook message by Karley Dodson. / Contributed by Sarah Grace Taylor

Karley Dodson — co-founder of Volunteer Progressive Services, a gaggle previously serving to Jelks with marketing campaign companies — shared in a Facebook publish over the weekend that the group had severed ties with Jelks over the incident, in response to a display seize obtained by the Times Free Press.

“We wish to echo earlier sentiments of remorse over the particular election in District 29. At 3pm Friday, we have been knowledgeable of latest allegations of sexual misconduct pertaining to our shopper. We then instantly ceased marketing campaign companies and operations, and we’re not affiliated with this candidate or marketing campaign,” Dodson wrote. “We wish to sincerely apologize to anybody impacted by this information. This matter is extremely delicate and impacts everybody in several methods. We at VPS are taking time to course of and regroup after this incident as we plan to proceed preventing for what’s proper.”

(READ MORE: State House candidate elected Hamilton County Democratic Party vice chair)

Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at [email protected] or 423-757-6416. Follow her on Twitter @_sarahgtaylor.

Related Posts