Representative Chris Lee of New York, caught in the midst of a scandal involving a shirtless photo he reportedly e-mailed to a woman, has stepped down, according to a senior Congressional official.Lee resigned three hours after the story first broke on the Gawker site.
Mr. Lee, a Republican who is married, notified the Republican speaker of the House of his decision in a letter he sent Wednesday afternoon after the scandal erupted.
Mr. Lee’s office released a statement late Wednesday in which he asks for forgiveness. “I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents,’’ he 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.’’
Mr. Lee won his district, located in the western New York region, in 2008, when he ran in place of Thomas Reynolds, who had announced his retirement.
Last year, another upstate New York congressman, Eric J. Massa, a Democrat, resigned amid accusations that he had groped a male aide.
Mr. Lee’s decision to step down came after a photo of him without a shirt appeared on Gawker along with e-mail exchanges that reportedly took place between him and a 34-year-old woman from Maryland who had placed a personal notice in the “women seeking men” section of Craigslist.
That's got to have set some kind of a record.