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 is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press Since 2009, she's covered breaking news, high-profile trials, stories of lost lives and of regained hope and done investigative work. Raised near the Bayou, Joy’s hometown is along the outskirts of Baton Rouge, La. She has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Louisiana State University. While at LSU, Joy was a staff writer for the Daily Reveille. When Joy isn't chasing ...

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