Intern, Boyfriend Tangle Tenn. Sen. Paul Stanley in Sex Scandal
Intern's boyfriend arrested for extortion after discovering evidence of affair.
July 29, 2009 — -- What began as a government internship for a one-time honors student with a questionable past has become a full-blown sex scandal that ensnared a married Tennessee state senator and led him to resign.
Republican Sen. Paul Stanley had maintained a low profile until his announcement late Tuesday that he was resigning from the state Senate effective Aug. 10, after his affair with a 22-year-old intern and a subsequent extortion attempt was revealed to the public.
Stanley, a 47-year-old evangelical Christian with two children, said in his resignation letter that he has "decided to focus my full attention on my family."
"Whatever I stood for and advocated, I still believe to be true," he told Memphis radio station WREC-AM Tuesday. "And just because I fell far short of what God's standard was for me and my wife, doesn't mean that that standard is reduced in the least bit."
He had been engaged in a sexual relationship with intern McKensie Morrison when her boyfriend, Joel Watts, contacted him, according to an affidavit filed in Davidson County by prosecutor Douglas Long.
Watts threatened April 8 to release nude photos of Morrison at the senator's apartment unless Stanley paid him $10,000, the affidavit claimed.
Watts, 27, allegedly discovered a memory disc with explicit photos of Morrison that were taken in Stanley's apartment on a cell phone. "Watts communicated to Stanley if he did not pay the money, the photographs would be sent to other individuals, including the media," the document states.
"Good morning, sir. How are you this fine day? McKensie and I have been talking, and I feel that I have a video and some pictures you might be interested in seeing," Watts allegedly texted to Stanley, according to a transcript read aloud during the hearing, as reported by The Associated Press.