Rep. Chris Lee (R-N.Y.) announced early Wednesday evening that he will resign his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Buffalo-based station YNN relays a statement from Lee, who has signaled that he will vacate his post immediately:
"It has been a tremendous honor to serve the people of Western New York. I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents. I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness.
"The challenges we face in Western New York and across the country are too serious for me to allow this distraction to continue, and so I am announcing that I have resigned my seat in Congress effective immediately."
News of Lee's decision to step down comes just hours after it was reported that the married congressman sent shirtless photos of himself to a woman who he connected with on the "Women Seeking Men" section of Craigslist.
HuffPost's Nick Wing reported earlier in the day:
According to Gawker, the 46-year-old married Republican responded to a listing posted last month by a 34-year-old woman looking for "financially & emotionally secure" men who "don't look like toads."
In an email, sent from an account admittedly registered to Lee, someone reportedly replied, claiming to be a 39-year-old, "6ft 190lbs blond/blue," "divorced" "lobbyist."
After a few flirty back-and-forths, the woman told Gawker that Lee sent her a picture of himself, sans shirt.
Asked for comment, Lee's spokesman provided a denial and claimed that the congressman's email account had been hacked.
"The Congressman is happily married," the spokesman told Gawker. "The only time he or his wife posted something online was to sell old furniture when they changed the apartment they keep in DC."
UPDATE: "People cheat everyday, but only dumb people get caught," said the woman who received the half-naked photos. She gave a full interview to TheLoop21.com on Wednesday night.
Her blunt evaluation comes after receiving flirty emails that used the congressman's name, originated from the email address associated with his Facebook profile (since deleted), and contained photos that clearly seemed to show his face -- and shirtless torso. So much for internet anonymity.
The woman, who works in government, requested to maintain her own anonymity in exchange for the accounts provided to Gawker and TheLoop21. HuffPost spoke with a friend of the woman who confirmed her story about getting the emails and photos after posting a personal ad on Craigslist.
In the interview with TheLoop21.com, the woman said she figured the story put forward by Lee's spokesman about a hacker was "bullsh*t."
"Dating in D.C. sucks," she summed up. Click here for more.
More:Chris Lee Controversy Chris Lee Photo Scandal Chris Lee Craigs List Photos Chris Lee Craigs List Chris Lee Resignation
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