BREAKING: Rep. Chris Lee resigns his seat following report of sex scandal
U.S. Rep. Chris Lee, representing New York's 26th District, including Genesee County, has reportedly resigned his congressional seat following a report by Gawker.com that he was trolling Craigslist for women.
UPDATE: Chris Lee released this statement:
“It has been a tremendous honor to serve the people of Western New York. I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents. I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness.
“The challenges we face in Western New York and across the country are too serious for me to allow this distraction to continue, and so I am announcing that I have resigned my seat in Congress effective immediately.”
Lee became caught up in a sex scandal today when New York City-based Gawker reported the the second-term congressman was apparently trolling Craigslist for women.
According to reporter Maureen O'Connor, Lee exchanged e-mails with a woman who placed a personal ad on Craigslist in the women-seeking-men category. Lee had told her he was divorced and a lobbyist, according to the report, and in the course of the e-mail exchange he sent along a shirtless picture himself.
The woman, according to Gawker, cut off correspondance with him after doing a little Google research and finding out who he really was. She then contacted Gawker thinking it was a 'humorous story."
There's no allegation in the story that Lee actually "hooked up" with that woman or any other woman through Craigslist.
UPDATE: Here's how the Washington Post reported it:
Lee experienced his fall from grace in a single afternoon, undone at the speed of the digital age. At lunchtime Wednesday, he was an obscure but promising second-term congressman. Then, at 2:33 p.m., the Web site Gawker.com posted an alleged e-mail exchange between a man who used Lee's name -- but identified himself as a divorced lobbyist -- and an unidentified woman. Gawker reported that the two had met through the personals section of Craigslist.
After that, the familiar cycles of a Washington sex scandal were compressed into a blur of tweets and news alerts. There was confusion, a hint of denial, then a pledge from Lee to "work it out" with his wife.
By 6 p.m., a clerk was announcing Lee's resignation in the House chamber.