A two-term, conservative Republican congressman Christopher Lee from Western New York abruptly resigned on Wednesday after a gossip Web site published a photo of him shirtless, which he allegedly sent to a woman on Craigslist.
"I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents. 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," Lee, 46, said in a statement on his congressional Web site.
Lee, who is married and has a young son, quit after Gawker.com published an e-mail exchange between him and a 34-year-old Maryland woman, whom he had evidently sent the photo, reports The New York Times.
Lee had replied to a personal ad the woman had placed on Craigslist seeking a financially and emotionally secure man between the age of 30 and 40, according to Gawker. She responded flirtatiously but stopped after searching for his name online and realizing who he was.
The woman, who was not identified, then sent the e-mail exchange to Gawker.
In his resignation message to constituents (which was delivered by his office and not by him personally), Lee, a former manufacturing executive, wrote: "The challenges we face in Western New York and across the country are too serious for me to allow this distraction to continue, and so I am announcing that I have resigned my seat in Congress effective immediately."