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House Speaker releases statement regarding alleged affair with intern

Missouri House Speaker John Diehl released a statement Wednesday afternoon in response to an alleged affair with a Capitol intern.

Diehl said, “I take full responsibility for my actions and am truly sorry to those I let down. I apologize for the poor judgment I displayed that put me and those closest to me in this situation. I also regret that the woman has been dragged into this situation. The buck stops here. I ask for forgiveness. I will begin immediately working to restore the trust of those closest to me, and getting back to the important work that is required in the final days of session.”

Wednesday morning, the Kansas City Star published multiple screen shots showing flirtatious to sexually suggestive messages between the 49-year-old speaker and a freshman Capitol intern from Missouri State University.

One text from Diehl reads, “God I want you right now,” to which the woman responds, “I wish you could have me right now.”

The texts suggest the relationship or conversation was consensual.

He then said, “We need a lot of time and a quiet room,” to which she responded, “That sounds amazing.”

The Capitol internship program the freshman was a part of was shut down early last month.

Representative Gina Mitten is calling for Diehl to step down from the speaker’s position.

When ABC 17 News talked to Mitten Wednesday, she had already collected about 25 signatures from representatives to start an investigation into the allegations.

“I am calling for the speaker to step aside pending the investigation of the allegations of improper conduct with a freshman intern in an internship program and that improper, or those allegations at least, certainly call the precipitous removal of the interns from the building and cessation of the program for the year.”

Representative Stacey Newman said, “My first reaction I think is most people’s reaction as they read this story and that is utter disgust. You know, this is one of my own colleagues here in the legislature. We are bound to be professional, we are elected by our constituents to be representatives of our district. This is not a clear representation of citizens. This is not a behavior that I think any of us can condone.”

ABC 17 News reached out to several republican representatives Wednesday, but they were not available for comment.

The young woman’s name was not released in the report, but she said the conversation was not real.

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