The Speaker of Missouri’s House of Representatives has reportedly carried on intimate text exchanges with a former intern from Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, according to the Kansas City Star.
The Star obtained images of texts between the freshman intern and John Diehl, Junior (R-Town and Country) that included sexually suggestive messages and a picture of the intern in a bikini.
The University pulled its four interns out of the Capitol in the spring but declined to specify why, citing student privacy laws.
Diehl has not commented on the situation but is presiding over the House as it debates a so-called ‘right to work’ proposal.
The intern told the Star the text messages were not real. It reports she told confidants she had an ongoing relationship with Diehl, and the Star reports it has confirmed the texts originated from her phone.
She has hired an attorney.
Read the rest of the story and see images of the text messages on the Star’s website.
The story has been seized upon on social media. House Democrat Gina Mitten (St. Louis) said on Twitter, “Leaders are supposed to PROTECT our young women, not prey upon them.” Representative Stacey Newman (D-St. Louis) said, “As a mom of a college daughter, I am beyond appalled.”