GOP rep apologizes for lewd photo shared on Twitter

Rep. Joe BartonJoe Linus BartonCalifornia state lawmaker accused of sexual harassment GOP lawmaker says he'll repay cost of harassment settlement Seven Texas lawmakers leaving Congress means a younger, more diverse delegation MORE (R-Texas) is apologizing for not using "better judgment" after a nude photo of him surfaced on social media earlier this week.

Barton's acknowledgement that he appears in the photo emphasizes that the women he was involved with in the past, one of whom may have shared the photo, were above the age of consent and willing participants.

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"While separated from my second wife, prior to the divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women," Barton said in a statement Wednesday.

"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," he continued. 

The picture first appeared on an anonymous Twitter account and then began to circulate on the social media platform.

The lewd image comes at a time when many individuals are coming forward and accusing powerful figures in politics, media and other industries of sexual misconduct. 

The Texas Tribune first reported the apology.

Republican officials in the Lone Star State are beginning to speculate about the political future of the Texas lawmaker, who announced his reelection bid earlier this month.

A spokeswoman for Barton confirmed the longtime lawmaker has no plans to step down. 

Barton, who has served in the House since 1985, told the local news outlet he is talking to people about his next steps.

"You're as aware of what was posted as I am," Barton told The Texas Tribune on Tuesday during a phone interview.

"I am talking to a number of people, all of whom I have faith in and am deciding how to respond, quite frankly," he said.

Barton was previously chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee. 

-Updated at 3:02 p.m.