The state prosecutor whose jurisdiction covers McMinn, Monroe, Bradley and Polk counties is stepping down at the end of this month. 10th Judicial District Attorney Steve Bebb is retiring two months before the official end of his term, and two years after a series of press reports raised questions about his conduct in office.
In 2012, the Chattanooga Times Free Press ran a series of stories outlining allegations of abuse of power. The paper alleged Bebb used his influence as a prosecutor to protect his friends and pursue his enemies. The Times Free Press investigation also uncovered improper behavior from Bebb and his staff. Those incidents included reimbursements Bebb collected for driving a state-owned vehicle, and a credit card his drug task force chief used to pay for meals, lodging, gifts and other items.
The TFP series spurred a state investigation. Though state authorities said their probe turned up nothing they could prosecute, a state House panel called for Bebb's resignation. In April of this year, a female attorney alleged Bebb assaulted her, then fired her. She was later given her job back.
It is expected that Governor Bill Haslam will name Steve Crump, a man Bebb defeated in a 2006 election, to succeed the outgoing D.A. Crump beat Bebb's preferred successor, Stephen Hatchett, in the May Republican primary. Crump will face no Democratic opposition in August's county elections.