POLITICS

Missouri House Speaker John Diehl Resigns After Admitting To Sending Sexual Messages To Intern

05/14/2015 03:46 pm ET | Updated May 14, 2015

Missouri House Speaker John Diehl (R) has resigned after admitting to sending sexual messages to an intern, saying he made "a serious error in judgment."

"I will be resigning the position of speaker of the House and the office of state representative in a way that allows for an orderly transition," Diehl said in a prepared statement provided to The Associated Press.

According to the AP, Diehl is resigning from both his House speaker's position and his seat in the Missouri legislature.

Text messages between Diehl and a college student who had interned at the Missouri Capitol were published by The Kansas City Star earlier this week. Diehl issued a statement Wednesday apologizing for the messages.

“I take full responsibility for my actions and am truly sorry to those I let down,” Diehl’s statement said. “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.”

The AP has more on both Diehl and the intern:

Diehl, 49, had been chosen by colleagues as speaker in January. He is an attorney who lives with his wife and three sons in the St. Louis suburb of Town and Country. He was first elected to the House in 2008 and now presides over one of the largest Republican legislative majorities in state history. He's known for his ability to work deals and to persuade rank-and-file members to stick together on the party's priorities.

The intern, who no longer works at the Capitol, declined to comment Wednesday and referred the AP to attorney Phil Willoughby, a former Democratic state House member. She "is not interested in being at the center of any political debate concerning her internship or the workings of the state Capitol," Willoughby said.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) called the messages between Diehl and the intern "troubling."

“Elected officials should be held to the highest standards of conduct by their colleagues and the citizens of this state, and this trust must be upheld," Nixon said.

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