US senator apologises for sex scandal

A REPUBLICAN US senator who admitted to "serious sin" after he was linked last week to a Washington escort service apologised for the sex scandal today, but said he would go back to work.

US senator apologises for sex scandal

Senator David Vitter, a social conservative who has routinely touted family values, said his undescribed sins occurred several years ago, implying that his misdeeds were behind him.

He accused enemies of dredging up the scandal to hurt him.

Senator Vitter, who had stayed out of sight the past week, said he was going back to Washington immediately, giving no hint he might resign the office he won in 2004.

"No matter how long ago it was I know this has hurt the relationship of trust I have with so many of you," said Senator Vitter, whose wife, Wendy, stood beside him. "I'm completely responsible and I'm so very, very sorry."

"Wendy and I dealt with this personally several years ago. I confronted it in confession and marriage counselling, I believe I received forgiveness from God, I know I did from Wendy," said the 46-year-old father of four.

His wife said: "Like all marriages, ours is not perfect.

"I forgave David. I made the decision to love him and recommit to our marriage."

They spoke at a hotel in Metarie, a New Orleans suburb, then walked out without taking questions.

Senator Vitter's phone number was found five times in phone records dating from 1999 to 2001 for "DC Madam" Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who is accused of running a prostitution ring in Washington, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported last week.

Ms Palfrey has said she operated a legal escort service.

Senator Vitter issued a statement on July 9 admitting to "a very serious sin in my past", then went into seclusion.

During the past week, former New Orleans madam Jeanette Maier said Senator Vitter was a customer at her Canal Street bordello in the late 1990s, and another woman identified as Wendy Cortez told the New Orleans paper Senator Vitter had been her regular client several years ago.

"Unfortunately, my admission has encouraged some long-time political enemies and those profiting from the situation to spread falsehoods," Senator Vitter said. "Those stories are not true."

The allegations have stunned many in Louisiana because Senator Vitter, a Harvard graduate and Rhodes scholar, has been a highly visible social conservative who championed family values and ardently opposed abortion and gay marriage.

In contrast to roguish Louisiana politicians of the past, he portrayed himself as a squeaky-clean reformer against immorality and corruption.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Temmuz 2007, 10:31