Missouri’s House Speaker says he will resign after admitting to exchanging sexually suggestive texts with a college freshman who was an intern at the Missouri State Capitol earlier this session.
John Diehl, Junior, said he is embarrassed and sorry, and said he will resign from the position of Speaker as well as representative for the 89th House District, as soon as the House elects a new Speaker.
The Kansas City Star reported on Wednesday that Diehl had been exchanging texts with the student from Missouri Southern State University in Joplin. Diehl issued an apology later that day, and today said that he would leave office.
An emotional Diehl told reporters in his office, “After evaluating things, I’ve got, I believe, the overwhelming support of the caucus, however we have important things to do over the next year. I don’t want to jeopardize that. I don’t want to become the story or a distraction and I’m going to do what’s best for the body and for the caucus and step aside out of my office.”
About his relationship with the intern, Diehl said it was never physical.
“I made a mistake. I’m sorry for it. I should have never engaged in the conversation.” said Diehl. “I don’t want to subject me, my others in my life, and people around this body that I care about to having to defend it or having to defend me.”
He added, “I’m in a leadership position. As a leader I should have known better. I made a mistake. It’s one that calls into question my ability to lead, and I’m not going to put my friends and I’m not going to put others in my life through that sort of thing.”
Diehl said no one in his caucus asked him to resign.