The former executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party, who resigned last week amid allegations of sexual harassment in the organization, is now facing a startling new accusation from an ex-girlfriend. Rebecca Burgin says Jay Parmley infected her with HIV several years ago.
“And after Jay and I broke up, the biggest concern that I had was, ‘what if this happened to somebody else? Would he do this to someone else?’ … My biggest concern is for anybody else that has had a relationship with him that he did not tell,” Rebecca Burgin, 29, told The Daily Caller.
Burgin and Parmley met in Oklahoma, where Parmley served as executive director and chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party and also taught classes at Oklahoma City Community College. She was 20 and he was 32. They began dating in January 2004, she says.
“I met him — I was a student in college and he was my American Government professor,” she told TheDC in a phone interview. “Upon completing that class, we started dating. We dated for a little over three years.”
In October 2006, when Parmley was a Mississippi state liaison to the Democratic National Committee, he became “debilitating[ly] sick,” according to Burgin. A few weeks later, he told her that he had tested positive for HIV, and that she should get tested. She also tested positive.
Burgin says Parmley later ended the relationship.
“I got angry and I called an attorney and asked, ‘what can I do, if anything?’” she said.
She wrote a letter asking for “a life insurance policy, and that I want health insurance coverage, basically, for the rest of my life.” According to Burgin, her attorney took that letter to a meeting with Parmley’s then attorney, Jim Frasier, who is now a Democratic National Committee delegate.
“Frasier,” Burgin said, “came back and said, ‘what we will provide for her is that she can remain on the DNC’s health insurance and the DNC would pay for it’ for — I think that they said — as long as Jay’s employed there.”
Burgin said the DNC was providing her with health insurance while she dated Parmley, and that the party’s policy allowed employees to put one other person on their health insurance. She ultimately declined the offer — “by that point, I was kind of like — and excuse my language — ‘Screw off!’” — and opted for COBRA coverage.
Jay Parmley resigned April 15, after emails surfaced referencing rumors of harassment at the headquarters of the North Carolina Democratic Party. In his resignation letter, Parmley denied harassing anyone.
“Let me be clear: I have never harassed any employee at any time at the NCDP or in any other job,” he wrote.
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com