Capitol Police investigating whether nude photo of House Republican was a crime

Capitol Police investigating whether nude photo of House Republican was a crime

The Capitol Police are investigating whether the unauthorized release of a nude photo of Rep. Joe BartonJoe Linus BartonGOP trading fancy offices, nice views for life in minority Privacy legislation could provide common ground for the newly divided Congress Texas New Members 2019 MORE (R-Texas) online was a crime.

“Today, the Capitol Police reached out to me and offered to launch an investigation and I have accepted. Because of the pending investigation, we will have no further comment,” Barton said in a statement reported by CNN.

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A nude photo of Barton appeared on social media anonymously earlier in the week. Barton on Wednesday acknowledged that the photo was of him but said he did not release the photo and the person who did not only violated his privacy but may have committed “a potential crime against me.”

Barton emphasized 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.

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

"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.

Barton in 2015 reportedly warned at least one of the women, who remains anonymous, that he would report her to the Capitol Police if she released sexually explicit photos, videos and messages he sent her during their relationship.

The woman shared a recorded phone call of the conversation with the congressman with The Washington Post.

“I would tell them that I had a three-year undercover relationship with you over the Internet that was heavily sexual and that I had met you twice while married and had sex with you on two different occasions and that I exchanged inappropriate photographs and videos with you that I wouldn’t like to be seen made public, that you still apparently had all of those and were in position to use them in a way that would negatively affect my career. That’s the truth,” the congressman reportedly tells the woman in the recording.

Barton’s office said the phone call shared with the Post may be evidence in the charge that a crime was committed against him.

"The Dallas Morning News has identified a potential crime against me and the transcript referenced in the Washington Post may be evidence," Barton said in a statement. "This woman admitted that we had a consensual relationship. When I ended that relationship, she threatened to publicly share my private photographs and intimate correspondence in retaliation. As the transcript reflects, I offered to take the matter to the Capitol Hill Police to open an investigation.”

It is unclear who originally released the photo of Barton on Twitter. 

Sharing so-called “revenge porn” is a misdemeanor in Texas. It is defined as “an unlawful disclosure of intimate images if without the effective consent of the depicted person.”

A spokeswoman for Barton said he does not plan to step down from his office.