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Texas Rep. Joe Barton threatened woman with police over secret sex life
On Wednesday evening, the Washington Post reported that Barton was recorded telling a woman whom he had sex with and sent sexually explicit photos to that he would call Capitol Police on her because she could reveal his secret sex life.
The woman in the recording spoke to the Post after Barton’s nude photo was shared on Twitter. The woman, who has remained anonymous, said her contact with Barton began in 2011 when she commented on his Facebook page, and they soon began exchanging messages for hours at a time. The two had sex twice—in Washington, D.C., and Texas—and over time she learned about and spoke to other women Barton had relationships with.
The recording was taken from a 2015 phone call in which Barton confronted her about her communication with other women, as well as her decision to reveal the sexually explicit images, videos, and messages he sent her. The woman told the Post she thought his threat to go to the Capitol Police was an intimidation tactic:
“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.”
The woman also shared texts and social media exchanges with the congressman, and a 53-second video Barton recorded of himself masturbating. The photo shared on Twitter appeared to be a still image from that video. She said he wasn’t abusive or coercive toward her, but said she felt he was “manipulative and dishonest and misleading” about his relationship with her and other women.
In a statement to the Post, Barton said the recording transcript could be proof of a “potential crime” against him. Barton also said he was told by Capitol Police it was opening an inquiry—Barton’s nude photo shared on Twitter may violate Texas revenge porn laws, which makes the sharing of sexually explicit photos without the subject’s consent illegal.
“This woman admitted that we had a consensual relationship. When I ended that relationship, she threatened to publicly share my private photographs and intimate correspondence in retaliation. As the transcript reflects, I offered to take the matter to the Capitol Hill Police to open an investigation,” Barton said. “Today, the Capitol Police reached out to me and offered to launch an investigation and I have accepted. Because of the pending investigation, we will have no further comment.”
The woman denies she intended to use the sexually explicit materials as retaliation against Barton.
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.