Missouri Speaker John Diehl Apologizes, Resigns in Wake of Sexting Accusations
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., May 15 (UPI) —Missouri Speaker of the House John Diehl (R) resigned from his position Thursday, hours after the Kansas City Star published a story uncovering an intimate relationship with a 19-year-old intern.
The 49-year-old married father of three admitted to his failure to uphold good judgment after multiple sexts between the two were released.
He said: “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,” in a statement.
“I’m not going to further jeopardize what we have accomplished this year and what can be accomplished in the future,” he said before formally resigning.
The intern was initially unnamed, but released a public statement herself Thursday night thanking supporters and speaking well of the internship program she worked with.
“I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me during this difficult time,” Katie Graham of Joplin, Mo. said. “Your support means a lot. This is extremely difficult for both families, and I hope everyone can begin the healing process. I strongly support the Missouri Capitol internship program, and hope it remains a positive experience for other students in the future.”
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt said Diehl was “an effective leader with significant accomplishments for our state.”
“He made a mistake, and has apologized,” Blunt continued. “He made the right decision today.”
The Star reports that Diehl will be replaced by Todd Richardson, a Republican attorney from Poplar Bluff, Mo.