The speaker of the Missouri state House released a statement late Wednesday that attributed sexually charged text messages he allegedly exchanged with a college-aged intern to “poor judgment.”
“I take full responsibility for my actions and am truly sorry to those I let down,” Speaker John Diehl (R) said in a statement, as quoted by The Kansas City Star. “I apologize for the poor judgment I displayed that put me and those closest to me in this situation.”
Earlier in the day, The Star alleged that Diehl and an unidentified female intern had a sexually charged relationship, citing screenshots of text messages the newspaper’s anonymous sources said originated from the intern’s phone. It’s unclear whether the intern worked directly for Diehl or not.
The intern previously told the newspaper that the text messages weren’t real. Her attorney also issued a statement to The Star late Wednesday that said the woman was “not interested in being at the center of any political debate concerning her internship or the workings of the state Capitol.”
Diehl also lamented that the young woman had “been dragged into this situation.”
“The buck stops here. I ask for forgiveness,” he said in the statement, as quoted by the newspaper. 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.”