News 4 has learned embattled State Rep. David Byrd was involved in a statutory rape case in 2013 as a character witness.
The defendant was former Huntingdon High School teacher Daniel Doyle, a Byrd family friend who pleaded guilty to statutory rape in 2013. Doyle admitted to engaging in oral sex with a 16 year old female student when he was 23. When Doyle appealed his sentence in November of 2013, several close family friends testified on his behalf including future state representative David Byrd.
The following is an excerpt from the appeals case summary:David Byrd, the principal at Wayne County High School in Waynesboro, Tennessee, testified that he was well-acquainted with the defendant and his family. Byrd elaborated that their families vacationed together, the defendant played basketball with Byrd’s son, and he had the defendant in his class. Byrd said that the defendant was ‘a model student’ in high school and was loved and respected by his teachers and peers. Although he did not condone the defendant’s conduct, Byrd was confident the defendant had learned his lesson and would never engage in such behavior again. He said that, if the defendant was able to teach, he would ‘hire him in a minute.’The details of Doyle’s crime are similar to the allegations against Representative Byrd from the 1980’s, as first reported by the News 4 I-team. Both men were high school basketball coaches in their 20’s and both were accused of having sexual contact with a female student at their school. Byrd has not been charged with a crime and told News 4 on Wednesday he has no plans to step down from the Tennessee House of Representatives.
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