Alabama Sex Scandal: Media Aide Resigns, Governor Says He’s Not Going Anywhere Soon

Robert J. Bentley, the Governor of Alabama, has found himself embroiled in a sex scandal that, so far, has cost the resignation of at least one senior aide, and put the politician in the position of promising not to go anywhere.

As CNN reports, in 2014, Robert Bentley was still married to his wife, Dianne. But that did not stop him having an alleged affair with one of his top aides, Rebekah Caldwell-Mason. A secret tape emerged recently starring Bentley and his alleged mistress. The 14-minute conversation captures Bentley, 73, talking about physical and emotional intimacy with another person. Bentley has insisted that he did not have an affair with Mason, and seven days later, Mason has tendered her resignation.

It was only last week that the sexually suggestive tape where Bentley talked about “when I put my hands on your breasts and if we’re going to do what we did the other day, we’re going to have to start locking the door” became public, and Bentley had denied at a news conference that he did not have a sexual affair with Mason, but that he make some “inappropriate remarks” about her. Bentley said the recording was not recent and was made over two years ago.

He apologized profusely to his family and to his former spokesperson, Mason. “I am truly sorry, and I accept full responsibility,” he said. The governor’s news conference came on the heels of Bentley’s former law enforcement chief, Spencer Collier, who accused the republican governor of misusing resources and having an affair with a married aide.

In an email to CNN, Mason confirmed that the governor apologized for the “inappropriate remarks,” saying all was forgotten and that everyone had moved on. Despite her resignation, Mason said she would continue to work in sync with the Bentley administration and leverage on opportunities to make the state of Alabama stronger. Since Mason is no longer an employee of the state, she will be paid from Bentley’s campaign funds.

Republican and democratic lawmakers have asked the governor to resign, something he has vehemently refused to do, according to the New York Times.

“I have no intentions of resigning. My intentions are to make this state better. My intentions are to try to work through all the difficulties that we’re going through.”

It is difficult to say if Mason’s resignation would save Bentley’s political career and keep him in the office of the state. Alabama has been strewn with scandals even before the alleged affair between the governor and his political aide emerged. A former governor is already serving prison time on corruption charges, and speaker of the State House of Representatives has been penciled for a future trial for over 23 felony violations.

Bentley, who was voted into office and won a second term because of his squeaky-clean reputation as an ardent church goer and incorruptible public official, is already being ostracized by his church. The former pastor of the governor said because of his indiscipline, he was no longer a member of the Tuscaloosa church, where he served as a deacon.

According to a media monitoring service TV Eyes, Alabama TV stations have referred to the Bentley-Mason story 700 times from Wednesday. In the entire month before the new conference, the governor had been talked about less than 650 times. Mr. Brewbaker, a Republican, said that “[i]t just shows that any governor who serves two terms and can leave office without scandal has really accomplished something in Alabama.”

The Alabama Ethics Commission said it would not comment on the Robert Bentley sex scandal, declining to address “matters that were pending and still under investigation.”

[Photo by AP Photo/Butch Dill]

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