Pennsylvania GOP Chairman Val DiGiorgio stepped down from his position on Tuesday amid a sexting scandal involving a candidate for city council in Philadelphia.
DiGiorgio’s resignation was prompted by a report from the Philadelphia Inquirer indicating that he exchanges sexually explicit messages with city council candidate Irina Goldstein.
According to the report, DiGiorgio and Goldstein exchanged messages for more than four months. Goldstein did not immediately recognize the Pennsylvania GOP chairman when he sent her a friend request on Facebook. She eventually recognized DiGiorgio and messaged him that she is running for city council.
After that, their messages to each other shifted from her asking advice and help to flirtation and then sexting. DiGiorgio sent her a photo of an erect penis. In her messages to him, she mentioned sex acts.
However, she became embarrassed and uncomfortable by their exchange of messages. They stopped communicating in February when she told him that he appeared to be “sexually harassing” her with his messages. He denied her assertion and told her that he’s a “perfect gentleman” during their only face-to-face meeting at a restaurant in Philadelphia. They never had physical contact.
DiGiorgio says the messages were “consensual” and “private matter”
On Tuesday, in his resignation letter, DiGiorgio wrote, “It is with regret, after much thought and consideration, that I am resigning as Chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania effective immediately…A recent media report contains gross mischaracterizations of mutual consensual communications between myself and a former primary candidate.”
In addition, DiGiorgio made it clear that his resignation is not a confirmation of these mischaracterizations. He expressed his intention to “vigorously defend” himself against the assertions and protect his family, colleagues and the party from “this private matter.”
Meanwhile, Goldstein told the media outlet that DiGiorgio made the right decision to resign. She said, “When a person has that much clout and power, I feel he abused that. And that was not necessary.”