The Politician, the Girl, and the Money

Yesterday, the Speaker and Majority Leader of the Utah House of Representatives, Kevin Garn, stood before his colleagues and made a statement.  You can probably guess what it was about:  lewd conduct?  (Yes.)  With a minor?  (At the time he went after his target, Cheryl Maher, yes:  she was a minor.)  Gay?  (Not this time.)

At the end of the statement, Garn received a standing ovation.  Many in the chamber lined up to embrace him.

Below is the text of Garn’s speech — as well as the words of his wife, and his son, written to his accuser and her husband.  Those too are heartfelt words, though they are now several years old.

Whom do you believe?

KG:  “Twenty five years ago I made a mistake that has now come back to haunt me. I was 28-yrs old and I foolishly went hot-tubbing with a young woman nearly half my age. Although we did not have any sexual contact, it was still clearly inappropriate — and it was my fault.

One of the consequences of that decision was the negative impact it had on this young person’s life. Years later, when I was running for Congress, she decided to bring this incident to the attention of the media. Shortly thereafter, my wife and I met with her, and at her demand, I paid her $150,000.

“While this payment felt like extortion, I also felt like I should take her word that the money would help her heal. She agreed to keep this 25-year-old incident confidential. Now that this issue is coming up again, it is apparent to me that this payment was also a mistake.

Today, she went to the press and reported all of these events. There will be a story. I expect to suffer public humiliation and embarrassment, but I also want you to know that I cannot allow one foolish mistake to continue to shadow my life. At this point, I would rather be open and honest about this than continue to live in fear …

I told my wife about this incident years ago,

“as well as my children.

“I may not deserve their forgiveness, but they have given it. My primary concern at this point is that my wife and the rest of my family know how much I love them. I am sorry for this incident. And I am sorry I ever responded to the financial demands.

I also wish to publicly apologize to this young lady for this incident. And I apologize to you, my colleagues, for any shame this brings to the Utah State Legislature. I have tried my best to serve my constituents in a way that brings honor to them and makes this great State better than the way I found it. I hope to continue to do that.

“Thank you.”

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