The teenager, who indulged in exchanging sexually suggestive text messages with Missouri House Speaker John Diehl that led to his resignation Thursday, issued a statement through her lawyer on the newly-revealed scandal. Katie Graham, 19, who is a freshman at the Missouri Southern State University, had exchanged the messages while she was enrolled in the state’s Capitol internship program that began in January.
“I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me during this difficult time. Your support means a lot. This is extremely difficult for both families, and I hope everyone can begin the healing process,” Graham said in the statement distributed through her attorney Philip Willoughby on Thursday night, according to Daily Mail. “I strongly support the Missouri Capitol internship program, and hope it remains a positive experience for other students in the future."
Diehl, 49, who is married and has three children, had issued an apology hours after the scandal surfaced on Wednesday. His resignation is expected to become official on Friday, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Diehl also admitted that he made a “serious error in judgment by sending the text messages.”
According to a report by Kansas City Star, which reported the scandal first, Todd Richardson, who is the majority floor leader, was selected by the Republicans as the next House speaker. However, the report added that he will be given the power only after a House vote favors him.
"I'm going to do what's best for the (House) body and the (Republican) caucus, and step aside out of my office," Diehl said, according to the AP, adding: "I made a mistake.
"It's one that calls into question my ability to lead."
Diehl was first elected in 2008 and chosen to preside over one of the largest Republican legislative in the U.S. in January.
The university also canceled its Capitol internships more than a month before it was scheduled to end. However, the university did not give any reason behind the decision.
“This is the first time we have pulled all the interns,” Richard Miller, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Missouri Southern, said, according to Kansas City Star, adding: “Usually, when something happens, it is a problem with the interns themselves, but that was not the situation this year.”