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Utah’s statehouse Majority Leader in Naked Hot Tub Scandal with 15 Year-Old; $150G’s Hush Money

from AP- (AP) Utah’s House majority leader said late Thursday he paid a woman $150,000 to keep silent about going nude “hot-tubbing” with her when she was minor a quarter century ago.

In a shocking statement on the House floor, Kevin Garn, 55, a Republican from Layton, said he paid her to keep quiet about the incident during his unsuccessful U.S. congressional bid in 2002, but did not have sexual contact with her.

Garn said the woman, who he didn’t identify on the floor, has been calling news outlets and that he wanted to be open about the incident that occurred when he was 28 years old, before any stories appeared.

A woman identifying herself as Cheryl Maher told The Salt Lake Tribune that she and Garn were in a hot tub nude when she was 15 years old.

“This has just been a nightmare for me,” Maher said in a telephone interview with the newspaper from New Hampshire. “I just want to tell the truth because it’s part of the healing process for me.”

Garn told The Associated Press early Friday that Maher was the woman and that they were nude during a “spur of the moment” skinny dip. He said she worked for him in a warehouse.

“We sat there and that was it,” Garn said.

Maher, who now lives in New Hampshire, also contacted Garn’s hometown newspaper, the Ogden Standard-Examiner.

The Associated Press could not immediately reach Maher.

Garn’s legislative future in highly conservative Utah with its strong Mormon influence is uncertain, but GOP Gov. Gary Herbert’s spokeswoman, Angie Welling, said Herbert would not be asking for Garn’s resignation.

Garn spoke on last night of the legislative session as a tearful House Speaker Dave Clark and their colleagues looked on.

House members gave him thunderous applause for his honesty and embraced him. As majority leader, Garn was the House’s point man on a series of legislative ethics bills this year that were designed to restore the public’s faith in the Legislature after recent accusations of bribery.

“While this payment felt like extortion, I also felt like I should take her word that the money would help her heal. She agreed to keep this 25-year-old incident confidential. Now that this issue is coming up again, it is apparent to me that this payment was also a mistake,” Garn said.

“Although we did not have any sexual contact, it was still clearly inappropriate – and it was my fault,” Garn said.

“I apologize to you, my colleagues, for any shame this brings to the Utah State Legislature. I have tried my best to serve my constituents in a way that brings honor to them and makes this great state better than the way I found it. I hope to continue to do that,” Garn said.

The Utah Senate’s former majority leader, Sheldon Killpack, resigned earlier this year after being arrested for driving under the influence.

“Although Rep. Garn made some bad decisions, first 25 years ago and then again in 2002, they do not diminish the good work he has done for the state of Utah,” Welling said in a statement to the AP.

Filing for re-election begins Friday.

from www.examiner.com – Nudity, public or private, is now essentially a criminal offense. All you have to do is look to Utah to see that for all our enlightenment, we can handle a bullet to the head much better than we can handle the sight of a penis or a vagina.

Utah’s statehouse Majority Leader Kevin Garn now admits that more than a decade ago he was naked in a hot tub with then-15-year-old Cheryl Maher.

Garn described the incident as “spur of the moment” (isn’t it always), and that no sex or fondling took place. Maher was working for Garn at the time, which raises a whole other set of ethical questions, but no matter.

Since the incident, Garn has allegedly paid Maher somewhere in the neighborhood of $150,000 to keep quiet, the payments being made after she allegedly threatened to go public with details about what may have been the ultimate in a Utah hot-tubbing experience during the last century.

I would love to see Garn’s political career go down in flames, mostly because he is one of those self-righteous Republicans who loves to condemn and criminalize ‘immoral’ behavior that he finds offensive. After this little bit of hypocrisy with Ms. Maher, he should be thrown out of the Mormon State Legislature. But at the same time, I find it more than a little disturbing that being in the presence of an underage minor, same sex or not, can be grounds for criminal charges, or at the very least, questionable ethics.

A long time ago, right around the time that people decided that the hippies were wrong and Ronald “Bedtime for Bonzo” Reagan was right, the naked human body not only became disgusting but downright criminal. Along the way, politicians, always the beacon of enlightenment without light, decided that we, as free Americans, should never have to tolerate seeing what God gave each of us. Since then, you can be arrested for urinating in public and spend the rest of your life on a sex offender registry for the ‘crime’ of emptying your bladder. You can accidentally brush up against a chesty woman in an elevator and, once you reach your floor, be arrested for sexual aggressiveness. All throughout, should you wind up in a situation where you are naked with someone who is underage who is also naked, your thoughts and your intentions are suspect and you most likely will be arrested.

Parents, for you this means that you best think twice before making bath time a family affair, as it used to be when soap and water were in limited supply. Coaches, don’t even think about showering in the same open bay showers as the kids you coach – it will come back to bite you in the asp. And for all you nudists out there, watch your step. While gun owners nationwide are brazenly trumpeting their right to bear arms, your right to not wear clothes is quickly become a thing of the past – and a criminal offense. We can blame the Republican for that, but we can also blame the spineless Democrats who have to do things like penalize Eric Massa for having a little ‘suggestive’ fun with his obviously uptight (and probably incompetent) staff. More on that later.

Nudity is now a crime and has been for some time, and Kevin Garn will no doubt pay the price for that. (He already has, if you count the $150,000 paid so far.) Realize, of course, that I am not defending Garn for his years of making sex and its participants criminals. I’d love to see a new Utah house majority leader. Heck, I’d like to see a new Utah. But for him to have everything fall apart for him just because he took off his BVDs while a young girl took off her Maidenform …. Well, gosh that’s worse than a terrorist attack any day, isn’t it.

No wonder we have a mentally unstable and sexually frustrated society. We teach children early-on that it is wrong and immoral to take off your clothes, especially in front of other people. And then when a real crime like rape happens, these kids cannot tell the difference or judge for themselves. They quickly learn that there safest bet is to stay away from sex and nudity completely. Better yet, get a job and work 70 hours a week and be the workaholic that will make us proud as a nation.

Well, I hope Kevin Garn enjoyed his hot tub experience. Given what he paid for it, and what he could have gotten for the same money on the open market back during the 20th Century, he got screwed.

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