Cullen apologizes to Sammons for ‘all you’re going through’

Published 3:02 pm Tuesday, December 10, 2019

A Boyle County magistrate said this week he hopes the spirit of the Christmas season brings with it some forgiveness for one of his colleagues — Magistrate Phil Sammons, who joked about the attractiveness of a woman’s legs during a public meeting in September.

“One scripture that always sticks out with me and I kind of run my life on … ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,'” Jason Cullen said during new business at Monday’s Boyle County Fiscal Court meeting. “… We are getting ready to go into the Christmas season and we’re going to celebrate the birth of our lord and savior — a man that was perfect.”

Cullen said Jesus is the perfect example of how we should treat others.

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“He was the perfect being, we are not. We make mistakes. But he also gave us the atonement which allows us to be forgiven,” Cullen said, before explaining that his comments were “directed mainly at” Sammons.

Sammons has been in hot water since September, when he made a comment about the local tourism director’s legs during a public meeting. The comment resulted in multiple apologetic statements from Sammons, a statement condemning the comment from the judge-executive, and as of October, a sexual harassment complaint filed on behalf of tourism director Jennifer Kirchner with the county, asking for Sammons’ resignation and creation of a policy for handling future harassment complaints.

“Sir, I want to apologize for you, with everything that has happened over the last several months,” Cullen told Sammons. “I know that the comments that you made were not intentional. I would not have liked to hear them, but I know it was not intentional. I would think at this point, we’re having to suffer a lot; you’re having to suffer a lot. And I really am sorry for all you’re going through.

“I wish that someone would have taken you aside and said, ‘You know what? Maybe this isn’t a proper thing to say.’ Because you have shown over the last several months that you truly are sorry. You’ve apologized several times; this court has apologized several times, and you are truly sorry, and you’ve not made those mistakes again.”

Cullen said today’s “PC culture” changes “constantly, and just like technology, you can barely keep up with it.”

He apologized to Sammons several more times for “what you have had to go through,” and explained he doesn’t think Sammons’ comment warrants the responses and requests made of the fiscal court.

“Is this something that justifies where it’s at right now?” he asked. “Are you really wanting us to take Magistrate Sammons out to the court and flog him because he misspoke?

“And so, sir, in the season of what we’re in, sorry you’ve had to go through this. And I appreciate knowing that you have learned from this, even at a ripe young age. It gives me hope that I can kind of constantly go on and realize that as I get older, I will make mistakes.”

Sammons said Cullen’s comments “caught me off-guard there a little bit.”

Sammons thanked Cullen for being “a real close friend.”

“I told him one day I was going to adopt him,” Sammons said, getting a few laughs.

“Thank you for wanting to put this to bed,” Sammons told Cullen.

Sammons said he would like to put the incident “behind us, get it over with, forget about it, and let’s move on. Thank you, my friend.”