Republican Congressman Caught On Tape Threatening Woman To Keep Sexual Encounter Secret
A Republican Congressman was caught on tape threatening a woman to keep their sexual relationship secret, the Washington Post reported Wednesday night.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) told a woman whom he had sent sexually explicit photos, videos and messages that he would report her to the Capitol Police if she exposed his behavior, according to a recording obtained by The Washington Post.
The woman, who is not married, spoke to The Post after the lewd photo was published Tuesday by an anonymous Twitter account. She shared a secretly recorded phone conversation she had with Barton in 2015 in which he warned her against using the explicit materials “in a way that would negatively affect my career.”
The woman described encounters and contact spanning a five-year period that began online after she posted a message on Barton’s Facebook page in 2011, leading to the sexually explicit exchanges and ultimately a pair of physical sexual encounters in Washington and Texas. Over time, she said, she became aware of and corresponded with multiple other women who engaged in relationships with Barton, who represents a suburban Dallas district and is one of the most senior Republicans in the House.
As reported by WaPo:
In the phone call, Barton confronted the woman over her communications with the other women, including her decision to share explicit materials he had sent. In that context, he mentioned the Capitol Police, a comment the woman interpreted as an attempt to intimidate her.
“I want your word that this ends,” he said, according to the recording, adding: “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.”
“Why would you even say that to me?” the woman responded. “The Capitol Hill police? And what would you tell them, sir?”
Said Barton: “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.”
Besides the recording of the phone call, the woman shared text and social media messages she exchanged with Barton, as well as a 53-second cell phone video Barton recorded of himself while masturbating, according to the report.
Barton was still married to his second wife when his relationship with the woman began. His wife filed for divorce in April 2014, according to court records; the divorce was made final in February 2015. A spokeswoman for Barton did not respond to a question about when his separation began.
In a statement late Wednesday, Barton said a transcript of the recording provided by The Post may be “evidence” of a “potential crime against me.”
Barton apologized Wednesday for a lewd photo of him that circulated on the Internet.