Missouri House Speaker John Diehl resigned Thursday amid widespread criticism for sending explicit messages to an intern who worked at the state Capitol.
Diehl, a Republican, was elected in 2008 and had served as House speaker since January.
"I have acknowledged making a serious error in judgment by sending the text messages. It was wrong and I am truly sorry," Diehl said in a statement. He also resigned from his suburban St. Louis House seat.
On Wednesday, the Kansas City Star published a report that detailed an array of sexually explicit text messages exchanged between Diehl, 49, and a 19-year-old woman. In one text message, the woman, who was not identified, sent Diehl a photo of herself in a bikini, according to The Star.
“Damn girl ... nice,” Diehl responded, saying in follow-up texts he wanted to "see more."
In a separate exchange outlined by the Star, Diehl writes, “God I want you right now,” and the woman replies, “I wish you could have me right now.”
Diehl lives with his wife and three sons in the St. Louis suburbs. The woman is a freshman at Missouri Southern State University.
"Too often we hear leaders say they’re sorry but are unwilling to accept the consequences. I understand that, as a leader, I am responsible for my actions and I am willing to face the consequences," Diehl said.
Shortly after the report was published, Missouri Republicans called for the speaker to step down.