- Associated Press - Monday, January 15, 2018

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A county official in Mississippi says a longtime lobbyist made a crude sexual remark to her in front of other officials at a social event.

Beverly Martin is a supervisor in coastal Harrison County. She told news outlets that when she introduced lobbyist Scott Levanway to other supervisors at a reception last week in Jackson, he interrupted her with a vulgar expression used to demand a sex act.

Levanway issued a public apology, saying he made an “ill-advised and totally unacceptable comment that was intended as a joke,” according to the Clarion Ledger . He said he hopes Martin will forgive him.

“My parents taught me that a good man takes responsibility for his mistakes and then makes them right,” Levanway said in the statement. “While I cannot erase the offense, I am taking full responsibility. And while I cannot make it right, and will not attempt to justify it, I will learn from it. And I will redouble my life-long commitment to respecting women and behaving in a way that reflects my true values.”

Levanway previously worked for Martin’s husband, Bernie Burkholder, who was a manager of Treasure Bay casino. Beverly Martin told the Sun Herald she has known Levanway for more than a decade and called his behavior “bizarre.”

Martin is part of the first majority-female board of supervisors in any Mississippi county.

“This good ol’ boy system has gone on for too long,” she said. “Men are still talking like that to women because they think they can get away with it. I don’t think they even realize it’s wrong.”

The secretary of state’s website shows Levanway is registered as a lobbyist for another casino, the city of Gulfport, Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport and Corporate Management Inc., which manages nursing homes, rural health clinics and retirement apartments.

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