Utah's House majority leader resigned from the Legislature Saturday, two days after his confession about sitting nude in a hot tub with a teenage girl 25 years ago stunned this conservative state.
SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah's House majority leader resigned from the Legislature Saturday, two days after his confession about sitting nude in a hot tub with a teenage girl 25 years ago stunned this conservative state.
Republican Rep. Kevin Garn, in an e-mail message to House Speaker David Clark, apologized for becoming a distraction.
"After discussing this matter with my family, I have decided that it is in the best interests of them, my colleagues and the people of Utah," he wrote.
Garn, 55, acknowledged the indiscretion with the legal minor late Thursday immediately after the Legislature adjourned for the session.
"Although we did not have any sexual contact, it was still clearly inappropriate -- and it was my fault," he told colleagues from the House floor Thursday night.
House members responded with thunderous applause for his honesty and embraced him.
Garn said he paid the woman, Cheryl Maher, $150,000 to keep quiet about the episode when he unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2002.
- And bribery is a crime!
But the now 40-year-old Maher began calling local news media last week to tell them about being naked with Garn when she was 15. Garn is more than 14 years older than Maher, who now lives in Derry, N.H.
"I'm sure the resignation was really difficult for him, but it needed to happen," Maher said Saturday. "This is a secret that devastated my life and my family's life."
Maher declined to comment on specifics of the hot-tubbing episode. She said she thinks Garn still has a bright future out of politics.
"My intention was not to harm or hurt anyone, it's just to speak the truth," she said. "It's freedom for me to get it out in the open and I think somewhere down the line he will think it's freedom for him, too."
"The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly." - Abraham Lincoln