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Congressman abruptly resigns over internet contact

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A congressman from New York abruptly resigned his seat Wednesday, quitting, he said, 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, an online advertising site.
 

Rep. Christopher Lee, R-N.Y., fourth from right, with members of his family, at a swearing-in ceremony last month. (Jacquelyn Martin/ AP)
Rep. Christopher Lee, R-N.Y., fourth from right, with members of his family, at a swearing-in ceremony last month. (Jacquelyn Martin/ AP)

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 resident of Maryland and a 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, considered among the most prestigeous in the House of Representatives, because it writes tax law. He also was active on economic revitalization issues.

He has a business background stemming from his family's manufacturing business.



<관련 기사>

<인터넷서 애인 구하려던 美하원의원 사임>

`애인구함' 사이트서 신분 속인 채 30대 여성에 접근

(워싱턴 AP=연합뉴스) 전도양양하던 미국 연방 하원의원이 인터넷 익명성에  기대어 벌인 짧은 `일탈'로 의원직을 잃었다.

2선의 크리스토퍼 리(47.뉴욕주.공화당) 의원은 온라인 광고사이트 `크레이그스 리스트'에 남자친구를 구하는 광고를 게재한 30대 여성에게 신분을 속인 채 접근한 사실이 가십 전문 매체인 가우커(Gawker)에 9일 보도되자 의원직을 자진 사퇴했다.

리 의원은 이메일 성명을 통해 "내 행동이 가족과 참모, 유권자들에게 끼친 피해에 대해 후회한다"며 사퇴 의사를 밝혔다.

이어 "나는 진심으로 그들에게 사과한다"며 "나는 심각한 실수를 저질렀으며, 그들의 용서를 구하고자 최선을 다할 것을 약속한다"고 말했다.

리 의원은 사퇴 효력이 즉각 발생했다고 부연했다.

그의 일탈은 상대여성이 그와 교환한 이메일을 가우커에 보내면서 만천하에  알려지게 됐다.

가우커에 따르면 리는 메릴랜드주에 거주하는 공무원 신분의 34세 여성에게  자신을 이혼한 로비스트로 소개하면서 셔츠를 벗은 채 포즈를 취한 사진을 보낸  것으로 드러났다.

리와 연락을 주고받던 이 여성은 어느 순간 리가 신분을 속이고 있다는 생각이들어 연락을 끊었다고 밝혔다.

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