It doesn’t rise to the level of a Mark Sanford or John Ensign sex scandal, but here’s another seamy affair involving a socially conservative Tennessee state senator cheating on his wife with his 22-year-old intern.
What began as a government internship for a one-time honors student with a questionable past has become a full-blown sex scandal that ensnared a married Tennessee state senator and led him to resign.
Republican Sen. Paul Stanley had maintained a low profile until his announcement late Tuesday that he was resigning from the state Senate effective Aug. 10, after his affair with a 22-year-old intern and a subsequent extortion attempt was revealed to the public.
Stanley, a 47-year-old evangelical Christian with two children, said in his resignation letter that he has "decided to focus my full attention on my family."
"Whatever I stood for and advocated, I still believe to be true," he told Memphis radio station WREC-AM Tuesday. "And just because I fell far short of what God’s standard was for me and my wife, doesn’t mean that that standard is reduced in the least bit."
He had been engaged in a sexual relationship with intern McKensie Morrison when her boyfriend, Joel Watts, contacted him, according to an affidavit filed in Davidson County by prosecutor Douglas Long.
Watts threatened April 8 to release nude photos of Morrison at the senator’s apartment unless Stanley paid him $10,000, the affidavit claimed.
Watts, 27, allegedly discovered a memory disc with explicit photos of Morrison that were taken in Stanley’s apartment on a cell phone. "Watts communicated to Stanley if he did not pay the money, the photographs would be sent to other individuals, including the media," the document states.