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‘Sexting’ scandal forces Australian state-level politician to quit ethics role

AFP-JIJI

An Australian politician was forced to quit a parliamentary ethics committee Tuesday after his former mistress revealed lewd messages he sent her, including one reportedly showing his penis in a glass of red wine.

Peter Dowling, a legislator in the Queensland state government who has been married more than 25 years, apologized to his family for the pain and embarrassment of the scandal, which was sensationally published in the Courier-Mail newspaper.

“I am not proud of the events plastered all over the paper,” Dowling, a member of the Liberal National Party, told the legislative assembly in reference to reports he had sent the woman several explicit messages, including one that involved full-frontal nudity.

“I can’t and won’t defend any part of it,” he said.

Dowling, who was also accused of taking advantage of parliamentary trips to rendezvous with his mistress, said he would stand aside as chairman of the ethics committee to allow an investigation into his travel records.

He is also a member of the parliamentary crime and misconduct committee. He said he has complied fully with all parliamentary rules for disclosure of travel.

The revelations have emerged as another “sexting” scandal swirls around New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, who is under pressure to abandon his campaign over new online escapades a year after he was forced to quit Congress for similar conduct.

Dowling’s story emerged after his ex-mistress, who has not been named, wrote to the parliamentary speaker about their affair and revealed that they had sex in the politician’s parliamentary annex and electorate office.

The Courier Mail said it had seen several of the messages, including one with a photo of a man’s underwear-clad crotch, another of genitals and one in which a penis is in a glass of red wine, labeled “He wanted a Red Wine. . .”