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Appeals court allows sex videotape trial to proceed

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Attorney Chris Cawood alleges outrageous conduct by sheriff's officials

By The Staff

By DAMON LAWRENCE

rclawrence@bellsouth.net

Kingston attorney Chris Cawood might have to write a follow-up to “Sex, Lies and Videotape” – a book he wrote that featured a sexual relationship with a female client that turned into the talk of the town.

His legal fight with authorities, in which he alleged “outrageous conduct” by county officials involving the tape, started in 1999. It was well documented in the book.

A state appeals court ruled this week that Cawood’s legal fight can continue.   

The client with whom Cawood had a relationship with secretly recorded him performing a sex act in his office. According to the opinion returned by the appeals court, Cawood would performing the sex acts in return for reducing the client’s bill. After the Roane County Sheriff’s Office got word of the allegations, they equipped the client with video surveillance to record one of the encounters.  

After the tape was shown at the sheriff’s office, word of it spread like wildfire, Cawood claimed.

“For over a week, the videotape and its contents were the ‘talk of the jail,’” Cawood claimed. “Officers related the contents to clerks at the Rocky Top in Kingston. It was talked about between jailers at Wal-Mart.”

Cawood claimed he learned about the videotape from his mother in Knox County — word of the video traveled to three counties in three days.

Cawood filed suit against four members of the sheriff’s office, claiming they invaded his privacy, committed outrageous conduct and violated the Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act of 1994. All the defendants were granted summary judgment by a trial court on those claims.

The appeals court vacated the trial court’s decision that granted two of the defendants — Linda Booth and Detective Dennis Worley — a summary judgment on the outrageous conduct claims. The appeals court remanded the case back to trial court for further proceedings. The appeals court upheld the trial court’s decision on all other claims.

A message left for Cawood was not returned by Roane County News deadline Wednesday.