The chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party is out of a job this Tuesday due to a scandal involving sexually-charged text messages and an explicit photo he sent to a woman running for Philadelphia City Council.
Valentino “Val” DiGiorgio III resigned from the Pennsylvania GOP in the wake of a Philadelphia Inquirer story that detailed the text exchange he had with former Republican candidate for Philadelphia City Council, Irina Goldstein, which began last October and took place over a period of 4 months.
The Inquirer reported that their exchange began after Goldstein commented on a Facebook photo featuring DiGiorgio. She then reportedly messaged him to seek advice on her bid for City Council.
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“I’m running for City Council,” she said, adding, “next time you’re in Philly, I’d be honored to buy you coffee.”
Soon after, the messages became sexually charged in nature, with DiGiorgio ultimately sending Goldstein a picture of his erection.
According to FoxNews.com, DiGiorgio claims the texts were “entirely consensual” and that accusations of harassment or abuse of power are “fundamentally untrue.”
“I extend my deepest apologies to my family and colleagues for this unfortunate distraction,” he wrote in a statement, adding, “I intend to vigorously defend myself against these assertions and protect my family, my colleagues, and the party from this private matter.”
According to the Inquirer’s report, Goldstein “at times either referenced or explicitly cited sex acts” during her texts with DiGiorgio and continued to correspond with for more than 4 months after he sent the explicit photo, seeking help with her candidacy. But she claimed she soon began to feel uncomfortable with the exchanges and said that DiGiorgio had the “upper hand.” She later informed him that she felt he was “sexually harassing” her, effectively ending their communication.
“When a person has that much clout and power, I feel he abused that. And that was not necessary,” Goldstein told The Inquirer after DiGiorgio’s resignation.
Featured image via screen grab/CBS Philly