IN Focus: Key lawmaker steps down amid scandal

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INDIANAPOLIS —The second-highest ranking Republican in the Indiana House of Representatives abruptly resigned from the Legislature, one week after he sent out a very strange text message.

Picture of Jud McMillin

Picture of Jud McMillin

House Republicans announced Tuesday that Rep. Jud McMillin of Brookville was resigning from the Legislature.

McMillin was the House majority leader for this year's legislative session, during which he was a prominent supporter of the religious objections law and efforts to shift authority away from Democratic state schools superintendent Glenda Ritz.

McMillin says in a statement he decided to step down in order to spend more time with his family.

IMG_0109--2His resignation comes a week after he sent a very strange text to several people last week. The text read: "My phone was stolen in Canada and out of my control for about 24 hours. I have just been able to reactivate it under my control. Please disregard any messages you received recently. I am truly sorry for anything offensive you may have received."

According to our partners at the Indianapolis Star, a sexually explicit video was sent via text message from McMillin’s cell phone. It’s unclear who sent the text or how broadly it was distributed.

McMillin was first elected to the Legislature in 2010, representing a largely rural southeastern Indiana district. He was named majority leader last November.

Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma issued this statement:

“Our caucus is thankful for Representative McMillin’s service to our state, and we fully support his decision to step down in order to focus on his family,” said Bosma.

House Republicans will call a caucus in the coming days to fill the majority floor leader position vacated by McMillin.

“I don’t know the details of any personal situation but I can say this – the people that serve in office are human beings. They make mistakes, they have frailties, sometimes they impede with public life," said House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City. “Everybody always has a future. Lives are full of second acts and comebacks and all those sorts of things. But ultimately, people learn to move on, they pick up, and like I said he’s an extraordinarily talented person."

McMillin took to Facebook on Wednesday morning to say he made "mistakes" and was doing what he could to rectify them.

Here’s the post he wrote on Wednesday:

"I make mistakes. When I do, regardless of how big or small they are, I do my best to admit them, own up to it, and then start doing my best to remedy them. That's what I am doing right now with my family. With that being said I will never understand the need for some people to spew hatred. I hope it makes those people feel better about themselves because there is no other discernable benefit. What a sad place for society to be. On the other hand, I am constantly amazed at how good hearted so many people are. The outpouring of support I have received from so many gives me faith and hope in humanity as a whole. To those who choose this path, I encourage you to maintain your approach not only towards those you agree with and like, but towards those you disagree with as well. This is the only approach that can possibly help make the world a better place."