INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 12, 2015) – State lawmakers spoke out Thursday for the first time over the sexting controversy surrounding State Representative Justin Moed. Moed, 32, admitted to sending nude pictures and lewd messages to Sydney Leathers, an Evansville woman behind the sexting controversy that lost New York Congressman Anthony Weiner his post.
The big question for statehouse leaders Thursday was whether or not Moed will stay on in his current position.
“It’s certainly saddening and human beings make significant personal mistakes and this is one of those cases,” said State Representative and House Minority Leader Scott Pelath.
There was one less voice in the busy statehouse chambers Thursday. Moed’s seat was noticeably vacant.
“Ultimately, the future of this is going to depend on Representative Moed himself. Sometimes people endure these situations and sometimes they can fight their personal battles and continue to serve the people and sometimes they can’t,” said Pelath.
Pelath weighed in for the first time Thursday on the promising young politician, who is now covered with controversy, “We don’t know what the future holds. A lot of these things are day by day and I certainly am not going to make any decisions involving personal matters in haste,” he said.
This isn’t the first sex scandal to captivate the state capital. In 2011, former republican representative Phil Hinkle admitted to answering a Craigslist ad from an 18 year old man. Hinkle had arranged to pay him $80 to “have a good time” in an Indy hotel room.
Following the controversy he was removed as Chair from a house committee. Hinkle ultimately resigned in 2012.
“It ends up being a distraction, not just for the public, but distraction for the members from the very important things that we have going on here,” said House Speaker, Brian Bosma.
In more than 20 pages of the code for State House ethics, there are zero provisions that detail a lawmaker’s personal behavior. Accountability like that said Bosma, is where voters hold their representatives accountable, “Our focus is on your official conduct and we let the political parties, the electorate make those types of decisions really and I think it’s in the right spot there.”
In many instances of scandals similar to Moed’s, lawmakers have stepped down on their own accord.