A New York congressman abruptly resigned his seat Wednesday, saying he was quitting because he regretted actions that have hurt his family and others.
The gossip website Gawker reported Wednesday that Rep. Christopher Lee, a married two-term Republican lawmaker, had sent a shirtless photo of himself to a woman he met on Craigslist.
Lee said in an e-mailed statement that his resignation was effective immediately. The statement offered no confirmation or details of a Craigslist posting.
“I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents,” Lee said. “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.”
Added Lee: “The challenges we face in Western New York and across the country are too serious for me to allow this distraction to continue, so I am announcing that I have resigned my seat in Congress effective immediately.”
An anonymous woman described as a 34-year-old Maryland resident and government employee provided Gawker with e-mails she said were an exchange between her and Lee in response to an ad she placed in the “Women Seeking Men” section of Craigslist.
Gawker reported that Lee identified himself as a divorced lobbyist and sent a photo of himself posing shirtless. The woman eventually broke off the contact with Lee after becoming suspicious that he had misrepresented himself, according to Gawker.
Lee served on the House Ways and Means Committee and was active on economic revitalization issues.