published Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

2nd Scott DesJarlais girlfriend says newspaper's story accurate


by Chris Carroll

The woman who acknowledged having a sexual relationship with U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais while he was her doctor in 2000 said the Chattanooga Times Free Press article that broke her story was accurate despite an earlier claim to the contrary.

"There's no inaccuracies with the story," she said Tuesday, adding that she stands by everything she said in a recorded, face-to-face interview.

DesJarlais, a Republican, is running for re-election against Democrat Eric Stewart in Tennessee's 4th Congressional District race. Neither he nor his staff has addressed the woman's specific assertions about marijuana use and having sexual contact with a patient.

"The Chattanooga Times Free Press is reporting a factually inaccurate story from a non-credible anonymous source who is lying," the congressman said Tuesday in a written statement.

The woman spoke on condition of anonymity. Her statement came two days after she contacted the newspaper with concerns about the story's accuracy; until Tuesday, she declined to respond to a Times Free Press reporter's follow-up inquiries about what portions of the interview were being challenged.

On Tuesday, the woman said she initially reached out because she "got scared" and didn't realize the interview's potential impact, fearing she may have wrongly remembered details from 12 years ago. But upon further reflection, she said, she stood by her story and the newspaper's account of it.

"I never thought it would be front page," she said.

Stewart's campaign over the weekend said the woman's account proves DesJarlais "has many issues."

In a Sunday story, the woman said she met DesJarlais as a patient in the mid-1990s. She described a six-month affair in the midst of DesJarlais' divorce that involved mutual marijuana use and the physician prescribing her pain medication on dates at his home.

Court records confirm the woman and DesJarlais had an affair, but her remarks about marijuana use have not been independently verified.

The Sunday story came three weeks after reports emerged that the congressman, who has an anti-abortion platform, had an affair with a separate patient and urged her to terminate her pregnancy.

DesJarlais has acknowledged the affair and the accuracy of a transcript of a recorded conversation he had with the unnamed patient in which he pressed her to get an abortion.

He said he knew the woman wasn't pregnant and used "strong language" to get her to admit it.

Contact staff writer Chris Carroll at ccarroll@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6610.

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