Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree takes leave of absence due to alcohol issues

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - The Cherokee Nation's attorney general is taking a leave of absence due to personal issues.

In a letter to Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Todd Hembree says he is struggling with alcoholism and needs to focus on his sobriety.

READ HEMBREE'S LETTER HERE (http://bit.ly/10erQVY)

"While I remain committed to serving the Nation that I love, I realize my focus should be on my sobriety, health and family," writes Hembree, adding that he is seeking treatment during his leave.

In response, Baker released a statement saying he had recently learned of Hembree's alcoholism and the effects it has had on Hembree's coworkers.

"Late last week, I learned of Todd's alcohol dependency and the effects it has had on some employees," said Baker.  "I met with those employees and expressed my sadness and displeasure for the pain he caused them and let them know I don't condone his actions."

READ BAKER'S LETTER HERE (http://bit.ly/12bLzbJ)

Cherokee Nation Marshal Shannon Buhl says Baker notified him last week of text messages reportedly sent by Hembree, which he calls "troubling."

Buhl says an investigation was launched, though no tribal code violation has been found.

"To protect the confidentiality of the parties involved, the details of my investigation will not be released," said Buhl.

READ BUHL'S LETTER HERE (http://bit.ly/13nmqfE)

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