Nude Leader

There's scandal in Utah, as the House Majority Leader admits to a nude hot tub visit with the family babysitter when she was 15 years old.
Kevin Garn should resign his seat in the Utah Legislature. Immediately.
So starts an editorial in the Tribune of Salt Lake City, expressing upset over the incident, and over the fact that Garn later paid the woman $150,000 to keep the incident quiet when he was running for congress.
In an extraordinary post-adjournment statement on the House floor Thursday night, the Layton Republican and House majority leader confessed that he had had an inappropriate relationship with a minor girl in 1985, when he was 30 and she was 15. He took her hot-tubbing in the nude. He was married. She was his employee. If the incident had been between consenting adults, we would not be writing this editorial. But Garn was the girl's employer, a position of power relative to her, and she was a minor. That makes it sexual harassment at best, and the criminal statutes that outlaw lewdness might also have been applicable.
Which do you think is a bigger problem - the waterplay, or the payoff?
Even more troubling, however, is the arrangement 17 years later when Garn was running for Congress. The $150,000 paid to the woman must be viewed as hush money. He was desperate to prevent disclosure, either to protect his political aspirations or his family. That kind of moral cowardice is certainly understandable, but it is not up to the standard that Utah voters have a right to expect.
I don't know much about the expectations of Utah voters, but I agree that the payoff stinks. More intriguing, however, is the decision of the local news media to not run the story when they had it shortly before an election 8 years ago.
Spangler said they questioned if something that had happened 17 years earlier was still news and said they did not want it to be the main issue on the minds of voters as they voted in the primary. When Garn lost — which meant he would be out of politics — Spangler said editors decided the story was moot.
While they defend their decision to hold the story, even after it was corroborated by Garn, it's hard to imagine the same decision would be made today.