Missouri House Speaker and one-time conservative “moral leader” John Diehl resigned Thursday. The politician was caught sending explicit text messages to a 19-year-old intern, suggesting a sexual relationship. Diehl made a statement saying he’s sorry for his family and also regrets “that the woman has been dragged into this situation.”
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the sexual text messages included flirty lines like “God I want you right now” and “we need a lot of time and a quiet room.”
The texts never became highly graphic (no nudity), and the politician denies the two ever engaged in sexual relations. Still, one message contained picture of the intern in a bikini with John Diehl replying, “I want to see more.”
About six hours after the news broke, John Diehl came forward to apologize and issue a statement, according to the Kansas City Star.
“I take full responsibility for my actions and am truly sorry to those I let down. 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.”
Then on Thursday afternoon, John Diehl resigned “for the good of my party, the caucus, and this state.”
“You can talk the talk or walk the walk. I made a mistake, I don’t think it disqualifies me, but I think it certainly violates the high standards that I’ve set for myself and this body and this office, and I’m embarrassed by it. I’m sorry.”
John Diehl Added that he wasn’t going to put his friends and loved ones through the drama he created.
The Missouri politician’s flirtations seem hypocritical considering his advocacy for traditional marriage and social conservatism. People Magazine reports that Diehl was a big proponent of an amendment to the state’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage.
As for the intern, she identified herself as Katie Graham, a 19-year-old freshman at Missouri Southern State University. She defended the Capitol internship program that put her in proximity to John Diehl in a statement.
“I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me during this difficult time. Your support means a lot. This is extremely difficult for both families, and I hope everyone can begin the healing process. I strongly support the Missouri Capitol internship program, and hope it remains a positive experience for other students in the future.”
According to Yahoo News, it’s been a difficult year for Missouri’s GOP. State auditor and potential gubernatorial candidate Tom Schweich shot himself, alleging that a fellow Republican official was running a smear campaign against him. His death was followed by the suicide of his spokesman a month later.
John Diehl’s fellow Republicans reportedly didn’t push for his resignation, but at least one said the Missouri House Speaker did the right thing in the end.
[Image Credit: Tim Bommel/Wikimedia Commons]