Rep. Christopher Lee, R-N.Y., abruptly resigned from the House of Representatives Wednesday afternoon after a report emerged that he had sent flirtatious e-mails, including one with a bare-chested photo of himself, to a woman he met on Craigslist.
Lee is married and has a young child.
"It has been a tremendous honor to serve the people of Western New York. 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 said in a statement Wednesday evening.
"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."
On Wednesday, the gossip website Gawker posted a story that included the e-mails allegedly exchanged between Lee and the unnamed woman. According to the story, a single 34-year-old woman from Maryland posted an ad on Craigslist's "Women for Men" section on Jan. 14. Soon afterwards a man named Christopher Lee replied, identifying himself as a 39-year-old divorced lobbyist.
In the exchange that followed, Lee reportedly sent the woman an e-mail including a photo of Lee with his shirt off, flexing his arms and chest. The woman later broke off her correspondence with Lee after she did an online search for him and determined that he had lied about his age and his job, the Gawker story reported.
Lee is a House Republican representing the 26th district of New York. He and his wife Michele have a young son named Johnathan, according to a biography on his congressional website.