Former Murray Co. judge addresses EEOC Complaints - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Former Murray Co. judge addresses EEOC Complaints

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MURRAY COUNTY, GA. (WRCB)-- More controversy is surrounding a former North Georgia Magistrate. Bryant Cochran was first accused of judicial misconduct for allegedly propositioning a woman for sex while working on her case.

He was then accused of pre-signing search warrants for law enforcement officers.

Now Cochran is also faced with an EEOC complaint involving his entire female staff.

Since the first allegations emerged in mid-July, Bryant Cochran has resigned his position, but the complaints have not stopped.

The Murray County Magistrate clerk, as well as two other women who worked under Cochran, have filed charges with the Atlanta Division of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Part of their claims state Cochran created a hostile work environment and suppressed their free speech rights.

"I don't think you would have a civil suit now unless these folks and these lawyers felt that there was blood in the water," says Page Pate.

Atlanta-based attorney Page Pate represents former Murray County Magistrate Bryant Cochran, who is now facing EEOC charges from the women who worked with him.

"The former judge maintained a very persistent, hostile environment at the work place of a sexual theme," says McCracken Poston, who represents the women filing the complaints.

"None of that is true," says Pate. "These folks have worked with Judge Cochran for many years. The clerk herself was there more than eight years, I believe, and never expressed any sort of concerns. Never had any kind of complaint."

Pate also says the initial allegations surrounding Angela Garmley, that sparked the investigations into his client, are not based on any hard facts.

"Angela and the allegations about trading sex for favorable treatment never happened," says Pate.

He is also adamant that Cochran had no ties to Garmley's arrest, which happened the day before he resigned.

He admits it looks suspicious, the fact that Cochran's cousin, Captain Mike Henderson, and another Murray deputy were fired for lying to the GBI about the arrest, and the fact Cochran knows the person who allegedly planted the drugs under her car.

"He knows who he is. He was someone who was a resident out at the mobile home park that Mr. Cochran has owned for some years," says Pate.

That man was never identified, nor arrested.

The only thing Cochran admits to is a one-time occurrence of pre-signing a dozen arrest warrants and maintains that is the only reason he stepped down from his job.

"All we have right now are allegations. And I would like for everyone to step back and let the GBI do their job, the FBI and now the EEOC," says Pate.

Filing the EEOC complaints opens the door for these women to file a federal lawsuit.

McCracken Poston says it also opens the door for federal protection to any other county employees who come forward.

Cochran's attorney maintains the main motivation behind the filings is money.

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