Missouri state House Speaker John Diehl (R) resigned from the legislature Thursday, just one day after The Kansas City Star published a report alleging that he had a sexually charged relationship with a college-aged intern.
“For the good of my party, the caucus, and this state, I’m not going to further jeopardize what we have accomplished this year and what can be accomplished in the future,” Diehl said in a statement, as quoted by the newspaper. “Therefore, 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 thanked his colleagues who supported him after The Star dropped its report, which cited screenshots of flirty and at times racy text messages that its anonymous sources said originated from the unidentified intern’s phone.
He went further Thursday in admitting wrongdoing than he did in a prior statement that copped to exercising “poor judgment” but did not explicitly mention the text messages. Diehl also ignored questions about the text messages when reporters caught up with him Wednesday night outside his office, although he responded with a firm “no” when one reporter asked if he’d had sexual relations with the intern.
“I have acknowledged making a serious error in judgment by sending the text messages,” Diehl said in the statement announcing his resignation, as quoted by The Kansas City Star. “It was wrong and I am truly sorry. Too often we hear leaders say they’re sorry but are unwilling to accept the consequences. I understand that, as a leader, I am responsible for my actions and I am willing to face the consequences.”
This post has been updated.