John Diehl Speaker

John Diehl, Missouri House Speaker, Sorry For ‘Sexting’ Teen — Once Praised As ‘Moral Leader’

John Diehl, the Republican speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives once praised by religious conservatives for his “moral leadership” due to his staunch opposition to same sex marriage — and a married dad of three himself — has apologized for carrying on a “sexting” text message relationship with a 19-year-old college freshman.

The young woman, who has not been named publicly but who has reportedly hired a lawyer already, was serving as an intern at the Missouri State Capitol when she and Diehl started their flirty text-message exchanges, one of which is reproduced in this screen shot…

While the “sext” messages never became highly graphic, they did include the teen texting a picture of herself in a bikini to the 49-year-old Diehl, who responded, “Damn, girl…”

Diehl then texted, “I want to see more,” punctuated by a smiley face emoji. The speaker referenced the bikini photo later in a text, informing the young woman that he was, “Laying in bed looking at your pic :)”

“”Mmmmm,” she replies, “why can’t I be there :)”

In another text message Diehl tells the female intern, “God I want you right now.”

The teen replies, “I wish you could have me right now.”

According to the Kansas City Star newspaper, which uncovered the spicy text exchanges sometime after Missouri Southern State University prematurely cut off its annual legislative internship program in April, Diehl initially refused to respond on the record to allegations of his sexting relationship with the intern — and when he submitted his cellphone logs to the paper, they contained no such messages.

But after The Star went ahead and published the text exchanges on Wednsday, Diehl quickly copped to the “sexting” affair and issued an apology.

“I take full responsibility for my actions and am truly sorry to those I let down,” the speaker said in a written statement. “I apologize for the poor judgment I displayed that put me and those closest to me in this situation. I also regret that the woman has been dragged into this situation. The buck stops here. I ask for forgiveness. I will begin immediately working to restore the trust of those closest to me, and getting back to the important work that is required in the final days of session.”

According to the paper’s account, the teen intern denied that the text exchanges with the speaker were authentic. But The Star reported that she has confided in friends that she carried on a relationship with John Diehl.

[Image: Wikimedia Commons]