Rebecca Burgin, a long-time former girlfriend of former North Carolina Democratic Party executive director Jay Parmley, told The Daily Caller that she believes Parmley infected her with HIV.
Parmley resigned on April 15 amid sexual harassment allegations from a former young male staffer.
Burgin, a 29-year-old Oklahoman, has shared her story with TheDC, including the revelation that Parmley’s lawyer offered her health coverage, paid for by the Democratic National Committee, to manage her illness. She ultimately declined that offer, fearing it would constitute insurance fraud. Parmley, she said, abandoned her a few months later.
On April 13, TheDC first exposed allegations, leveled in December by former North Carolina Democratic Party communications staffer Adriadn Ortega, that Parmley showed him a picture of a penis, gave him unwanted shoulder rubs and made apparent sexual advances toward him. Ortega also alleged that Parmley discussed with him in detail his past sexual activity, including “solicit[ing] sex from gay websites.”
Parmley’s ex-girlfriend Rebecca Burgin told TheDC that Parmley forever changed her life by making her HIV-positive. She’s worried, she said, that Parmley may have done to someone else what he did to her.
“My motivation for talking to you was that I have read the articles, I have read the letter [that Ortega sent to Parmley detailing sexual harassment allegations] and everything like that,” Burgin said.
“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.”
Burgin told TheDC that she believes Parmley “prey[s] on” younger adults like her and Ortega.
“When Jay and I met, I was 20 and he was 32,” she said. “To me, it seems to be a pattern, potentially… The unnerving thing to me is that it looks like he uses his position of authority to prey on younger adults.”
Burgin said she doesn’t know when or how Parmley contracted HIV. The World Health Organization reports that while patients often have flu-like symptoms a few months after they are first infected, HIV “may remain dormant and asymptomatic for years until it surfaces suddenly.”
Parmley served as national president of the Young Democrats of America from 1999 to 2001, then becoming executive director and chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party until 2005. It was during this period that he and Burgin dated.
In 2005 he left Oklahoma to become a Mississippi state liaison to the Democratic National Committee under chairman Howard Dean, during the former Vermont governor’s 50-state strategy campaign. He took a similar role in South Carolina in 2007, and became executive director of the South Carolina Democratic Party in 2009. In May 2011, the North Carolina Democratic Party hired him as its executive director.
While Parmley led the Oklahoma Democratic Party, he also taught politics courses at Oklahoma City Community College. “He taught like one or two classes per semester,” Burgin said.
“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.”
“January 2, 2004, was our first date,” she recalled.
But in July 2005, Howard Dean recruited Parmley and he was on his way to Mississippi.