US lawmaker apologizes for sexually explicit photo
A US lawmaker from Texas apologized Wednesday for an explicit photo released on the internet, saying he had erred in judgment when pursuing consensual sexual relationships with women.
The photo shows Congressman Joe Barton nude, with his genitals obstructed from view, in a sexually suggestive pose. It appeared on Twitter earlier this week and has since circulated on social media.
The Republican lawmaker set his behaviour apart from the recent revelations of sexual harassment and assault that have plagued powerful and high-profile men.
“While separated from my second wife, prior to the divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women,” the twice-divorced 68-year-old said.
“Each was consensual. Those relationships have ended. I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down.”
Barton sent mixed messages about his political future.
In an interview with The Texas Tribune, he said he was still deliberating how to respond, but a spokeswoman told The Dallas Morning News that Barton had no plans to resign.
A similarly suggestive photo of former congressman Anthony Weiner that appeared on his Twitter account in 2011 was the beginning of his downfall.
Weiner was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison in September for sexting with a minor.
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