Utah GOP leader admits hot tub romp with minor

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, of 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.

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6 Responses to "Utah GOP leader admits hot tub romp with minor"

  1. Mightymo  March 12, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    “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.”

    After having lived in this God Forsaken state for 6 years, I can assure you that the self righteous Conservatives of Utah would not be taking this stance if it were either a Democrat or a Gentile (non-Mormon).

    Then again, support for this “good man” shouldn’t surprise me since it’s coming from hypocrites, I mean the right. Unlike Killpack, who resigned immediately because drinking alcohol is clearly unacceptable with Mormons, what Garn did is quit acceptable in Utah.

    It may surprise many, but then again with a tolerance for Polygamy it may not, but Utah is full of child molesters and you read about them regularily in the Utah news.

  2. John1172002  March 12, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Ahhh yes, another “do as I say, not as I do” member of the GOP. I detest hypocrites, regardless of their political affiliation.

    “Family values”, my ass. Still more of a contract ON America than a contract WITH America.

  3. sherry  March 12, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    What is it about politics that seems to attract crooks, liars and pervs?
    Yeesh

  4. Carl Nemo  March 12, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    I don’t see the big deal here. Have people ever heard of nudists? There are many beaches in the world where everyone is running around buck naked from very young to old. Besides it was a quarter century ago and there’s no mention of molestation etc. He was 28 years old when she was 15, so I’ll give him credit for restraining himself by not doing something both criminal and stupid. He should have reported the extortionist to the FBI and shut the situation down.

    I’ll provide a link concerning Utah’s legal age of consent laws which seem rather convoluted to me.

    http://blog.laborlawtalk.com/2006/11/09/utah-age-of-consent-laws/

    I believe Utah’s state motto is “Bring’em Young”…no?! / : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  5. EmmaG  March 13, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Is this photo supposed to be of a 15-year-old girl? Just wondering.

    • Carl Nemo  March 13, 2010 at 9:36 pm

      More than likely not EmmaG.; but, it surely looks crispy with no sign of dissipation; ie., cellulite etc. … : ) )

      I’m sure Doug chooses photo’s to give his site some pizzazz. He’s even got some racy advertising of late. Hey it’s no different than when you are at the supermarket checkout stand and one has to look at mags and tabloids they are trying to huckster to folks on the way out the door. Visuals sell both ideas and products.

      It’s a human body and is one of the most beautiful things of creation, unfortunately thousands of hypocrites mostly those in control of society have intentionally turned the viewing and subject thereof into “forbidden fruit”.

      Carl Nemo **==

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