Guys, don’t send dick pics. Nothing good can come of it, especially if you’re a member of Congress. Have we learned nothing from Anthony Weiner after all this time, apart from the importance of not keeping classified information from your wife’s boss on the same laptop from which you sext teenagers?
A mystery: Was this photo sent to a willing or unwilling recipient? Barton implies that she was willing.
“While separated from my second wife, prior to the divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women,” he said. “Each was consensual. Those relationships have ended. I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down.”…
“You’re as aware of what was posted as I am,” he said [in an interview with the Texas Tribune]. “I am talking to a number of people, all of whom I have faith in and am deciding how to respond, quite frankly.”
It is unclear how the photo got onto social media, or who put it there.
The woman who posted the pic says there’s more to it, though. According to TMZ, she claimed in a tweet that she’s being “harassed” by Barton. He must have gotten a heads-up that it was coming because the whispers of a surprise retirement — or “resignation” — were circulating suddenly yesterday:
Retirement/resignation watch: GOP Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, according to K Street sources.
— Nathan Gonzales (@nathanlgonzales) November 21, 2017
Barton may become the first member of Congress to leave as a part of a “Sexodus” as the media digs into sexual behavior on the Hill. I’m inclined to believe that this is a betrayal by a former lover rather than something he sent unbidden to someone he was harassing, as he’d have to have been a complete imbecile to send a crotch shot to a hostile recipient with his face visible in the photo. But it’s also possible that both parties are telling the truth. If there was an affair which she ended against his wishes and he kept up his unwanted advances afterward, maybe this is how she decided to pay him back.
If in fact there was a relationship and she received the photo willingly, publishing it is a crime under Texas law. That’s “revenge porn,” and that’s a no-no:
(b) A person commits an offense if:
(1) without the effective consent of the depicted person, the person intentionally discloses visual material depicting another person with the person’s intimate parts exposed or engaged in sexual conduct;
(2) the visual material was obtained by the person or created under circumstances in which the depicted person had a reasonable expectation that the visual material would remain private;
(3) the disclosure of the visual material causes harm to the depicted person; and
(4) the disclosure of the visual material reveals the identity of the depicted person in any manner
Subsection (2) is the sticking point. Did Barton send this photo to a girlfriend, someone whom he reasonably believed would keep it secret? Or did he send it to some attractive staffer whom he wanted to get to know better, thinking a close-up of his dong might break the ice? Presumably you *can* publish dick pics from a stranger with legal impunity.
The accuser, by the way, claims she has video of Barton in a compromising position as well. Presumably publishing the photo was her way of telling him that she means business and he’d better resign now, or else.