- A sexually explicit image of Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas surfaced on the internet on Tuesday.
- Barton says the Capitol Hill police are investigating.
- Barton reportedly once warned a woman that he would contact the police if she didn’t stop communicating with other women he was previously romantically involved with.
The Washington Post on Wednesday said it had reviewed a 2015 recording of Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas warning a woman who received “inappropriate photographs and videos” of him that he might report the matter to the Capitol Hill police. An anonymous Twitter account published a lewd photo photo of Barton on Tuesday.
In a recording of the call, The Post said, Barton confronted the woman after she was discovered to have communicated with other women who were romantically involved with Barton. The woman is also believed to have forwarded explicit materials from Barton to the other women.
“I want your word that this ends,” Barton said in the recording, according to The Post. “I will be completely straight with you. I am ready if I have to, I don’t want to, but I should take all this crap to the Capitol Hill Police and have them launch an investigation. And if I do that, that hurts me potentially big time.”
Barton reportedly continued, saying he would detail all of their exchanges to the police, including material he said he did not want to be publicly disclosed.
“You still apparently had all of those and were in position to use them in a way that would negatively affect my career,” Barton reportedly said.
If the woman shared explicit images of Barton, that may violate Texas laws prohibiting “revenge porn,” in which people publicize such material without consent as a form of retaliation, The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday. Violators could face a year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.
On Wednesday, Barton said in a statement that the Capitol Police would launch an investigation into the incident. The Capitol Police could not be reached by Business Insider for comment Wednesday evening.
“When I ended that relationship, she threatened to publicly share my private photographs and intimate correspondence in retaliation,” Barton said, according to The Post.
The woman said she was in contact with Barton for five years, beginning in 2011, after she published a message on his Facebook page, according to The Post. Among the sexually explicit material he sent the woman was reportedly a video of him masturbating, which The Post said appeared to be the source of the photo released on Twitter on Tuesday. The woman interviewed by The Post said she did not publish the photo.
Barton, who said the two had a consensual relationship, was still married when they became romantically involved, according to The Post.