Port Wentworth mayor apologizes for illicit photo of councilwoma - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Port Wentworth mayor apologizes for illicit photo of councilwoman

Port Wentworth City Hall (Source: WTOC) Port Wentworth City Hall (Source: WTOC)

The mayor of Port Wentworth is publicly apologizing for his part in the upskirt picture controversy involving Councilwoman Debbie Johnson. But Johnson says the apology is just too late. 

There were plenty of people in the audience at the council meeting who were very vocal about the council needing to come together.

You could not only feel the tension in the room, but you could feel how these people want a change in the city starting with the council.

"I, as a leader of this great city, am ashamed of what has transpired. I further want publicly to express my sincerest apology to Councilwoman Johnson for what she and her family has gone through." Mayor Glenn Jones.

Whatever it is she's gone through is the result of this: a cell phone photograph was taken up Councilwoman Johnson's skirt at what was presumably an executive session of council. It was then eventually posted on Facebook

And what she went through was apparently more than an apology can fix.

"I thank him for the apology but at this time I believe it’s just too late,” said Councilwoman Johnson.

She was emotional when I asked her about the fact that no one endured consequences for their actions.

"It’s hurtful, that’s all I can say,” Councilwoman Johnson said.

During a Chatham County investigation former Councilman Ernie Stanhope admits to taking the photo.

In the video obtained by WTOC, an investigator asked Stanhope if he took the photo.

He replied, “Yep.”

The mayor eventually admitted it was Stanhope who sent it to him.

"The picture was sent to me by Mr. Stanhope,” Mayor Jones told an investigator.

Residents are outraged about what even the mayor calls a travesty that tarnished the city.

"You're morally bankrupt, you're morally corrupt. You're going to stand there and claim you're a Christian but you're going to be a dinner with an upskirt picture laughing and joking."

"A woman was shamed, body shamed. I want to cry for her."

"My hope for the city of Port Wentworth is that we learn from our mistakes."

Councilwoman Johnson says it was a personal attack against her. But Georgia law says taking this type of revealing photo of a woman isn't illegal.

"That law needs to be changed, it needs to protect women, mothers, sisters and wives,” said Councilwoman Johnson.

Councilman Thomas Barbee says the council needs a lesson in ethics. Mayor Jones didn't hesitate to point the first finger at himself. 

Councilman Barbee says the council needs a lesson in ethics. Mayor Jones didn't hesitate to point the first finger at himself. 

"I've hurt some people and I'll have to live with that for the rest of my life,” said Mayor Jones.

Councilwoman Johnson's attorney says she will continue to explore legal options as none of the individuals involved in this incident have quote, "paid the price for what they have done."  

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