Report: Rep. DesJarlais admitted to affairs with patients, supported abortions

By Rachel Rose Hartman, Yahoo! News
Political Reporter
By Rachel Rose Hartman, Yahoo! News | The Ticket 36 mins ago

Scott DesJarlais (Erik Schelzig/AP)

Winning re-election has failed to quiet scandals surrounding Rep. Scott DesJarlais.

In court transcripts from his 2001 divorce trial obtained by the Chattanooga Times Free Press and reported Thursday, it was revealed that the Tennessee Republican tea partier, a former physician, had admitted to sexual relationships with patients and supported his wife's abortions.

DesJarlais reportedly also admitted to having affairs with coworkers and a drug representative while serving as chief of staff at Grandview Medical Center in Jasper, Tenn. "During one affair with a female patient, DesJarlais prescribed her drugs, gave her an $875 watch and bought her a plane ticket to Las Vegas, records show," the newspaper wrote.

DesJarlais also reportedly supported his wife's two abortions before they were married, one of which occurred while she was on medication that carried risks.
A DesJarlais spokesman did not immediately respond to Yahoo News' request for comment.

DesJarlais was dogged by stories of his past affairs during this year's re-election campaign. A story from the Huffington Post Oct. 28 alleged that he encouraged a patient he impregnated to have an abortion. DesJarlais, who espouses an anti-abortion platform, denied that the woman became pregnant or had an abortion, and said the relationship took place during his divorce proceedings.

A freshman, DesJarlais easily clinched re-election Nov. 6 in Tennessee's 4th District over Democratic state Sen. Eric Stewart. DesJarlais had been heavily favored to win in the district, but the scandalous reports prompted some Democrats to invest in opposing his candidacy in the campaign's final weeks.

The Times Free Press reports that the state Democratic Party attempted to obtain Thursday's court transcript before the election, but the 679-page document's release was delayed by the court.