Indiana House majority leader resigns after apologetic text

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Posted: Sep 30, 2015 7:10 PM
Indiana House majority leader resigns after apologetic text

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A ranking lawmaker who abruptly resigned from the Indiana House says he made "mistakes" that he needs to remedy with his family, a week after apologizing to friends and acquaintances for "anything offensive" they may have received from his cellphone.

House Majority Leader Jud McMillin, a Republican from Brookville, said in a Facebook post Wednesday that he was giving up his seat to focus on his family. But he did not elaborate on what mistakes he made. He officially resigned Tuesday.

It's not McMillin's first brush with ethics while in public office. Ten years ago, a domestic violence victim said they had a sexual relationship while he was handling her case as an assistant prosecutor in Montgomery County, Ohio.

McMillin had been the second ranking member of the Indiana House since November, following a rapid climb after being elected to the Legislature in 2010. He was a prominent supporter of the state's religious objections law, which ignited a political fire storm during this year's legislative session over concern that it could sanction discrimination against gay and lesbian couples. McMillin also played a key role in efforts to shift authority away from the Democratic state schools superintendent and has been an outspoken proponent of drug-testing welfare recipients.

Last week, McMillan texted multiple people stating that his cellphone had been stolen and apologizing for messages they may have received from his number. Details about the content of those messages have not been revealed.

In the text, McMillin said his cellphone had been stolen in Canada and that he had gotten it back a day later. He asks the recipients of the text to disregard any previous messages from his phone, saying he was "truly sorry for anything offensive you may have received."

The AP spoke to two people who received the text and obtained a copy of it from one of them. The two requested anonymity because it was a private message.

In Wednesday's Facebook post, McMillin also lashed out at critics who "spew hatred," apparently directed at him.

"I make mistakes. When I do, regardless of how big or small they are, I do my best to admit them, own up to it, and then start doing my best to remedy them. That's what I am doing right now with my family," he wrote.

McMillin did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday. He did not answer calls from the AP to his cellphone and his voicemail was full.

After McMillin resigned Tuesday, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, issued a statement thanking McMillin for his service and said the Republican Caucus supports McMillin's decision to focus on his family. Bosma said a new majority leader will be selected in the coming days.

In the Ohio incident in 2005, McMillin resigned his position as a prosecutor just weeks after he withdrew from the domestic violence case involving the woman he had a relationship with. The woman sued him for legal malpractice the following year, but the lawsuit was later withdrawn.

The woman said in a sworn affidavit that she and McMillin had texted each other photographs of themselves that were "sexual in nature."

McMillin said in court documents that the relationship had been voluntary and that it didn't start until after he quit the prosecutor's staff.

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Associated Press writer Tom Davies contributed to this report.