Alabama newspaper exec accused of assaulting female workers

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ANNISTON, Ala. (AP) – The chairman of a company that publishes six newspapers in Alabama has been accused of assaulting female employees by spanking them while he was a newsroom executive decades ago.

Alabama news outlets report that at least three women say Consolidated Publishing Co. Chairman H. Brandt Ayers assaulted and hit them in the mid-1970s while he was publisher at The Anniston Star. Consolidated operates that newspaper.

Ayers is now 82. He issued a statement saying he did things he regrets when he was younger.

Ayers stepped down last year as publisher of the Anniston newspaper. His successor, Bob Davis, did not return an email seeking comment on Ayers’ position at Consolidated Publishing.

Ayers became a nationally known voice of Southern liberalism during his tenure as editor and publisher at the paper.

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