Texas congressman Joe Barton says police investigating after nude photo surfaces

Rep. Joe Barton, one of the longest-serving members of Congress, said Wednesday night that he may have been the victim of a crime after a nude photo and a salacious sext surfaced on social media.

Barton, a Republican who represents a district south of Dallas, said in a statement that a woman with whom he had a consensual relationship in the past had threatened "to publicly share my private photographs and intimate correspondence in retaliation" for his having ended the relationship.

Barton said U.S. Capitol Police were investigating. Capitol Police didn't answer a call or immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

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Texas Congressman Joe Barton

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, speaks during a press conference outside the Capitol with members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and members from the House Kentucky Delegation on the 'Ratepayer Protection Act' on Wednesday, June 24, 2015.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) asks a question of the witnesses during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, October 24, 2013.

(REUTERS/Jason Reed)

Reps. Ted Poe, R-Texas, left, and Joe Barton, R-Texas, attend a rally outside of the Supreme Court during arguments in the King v. Burwell case which deals with tax credits in the Affordable Care Act, March 4, 2015.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Representative Joe Barton, Republican of Texas, listens during a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. Wireless and cable trade groups welcomed a Republican proposal for open-Internet legislation as an alternative to regulations backed by President Barack Obama. Trade group officials supported the congressional proposal in testimony today.

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and ranking member Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) (R) preside over a hearing on "Developments in Synthetic Genomics and Implications for Health and Energy" by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 27, 2010.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, speaks during a press conference outside the Capitol with members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and members from the House Kentucky Delegation on the 'Ratepayer Protection Act' on Wednesday, June 24, 2015.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

U.S. President George W. Bush prepares to sign H.R. 584, a bill which would designate the headquarters building of the Department of Education in Washington, D.C., as the Lyndon Baines Johnson Federal Building, on Friday, March 23, 2007. Joining the President are a host of Texas Congressmen, including Republican Joe Barton, far left, Democrat Solomon Ortiz, second from left, Republican Michael McCaul, fourth from left, Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson, fourth from right, Republican Ralph Hall, third from right, and Democrat Gene Green, second from right. Also witnessing the signing are daughters of former President Lyndon B. Johnson, Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, third from left, and Luci Baines Johnson, far right.

(Photo by Chris Greenberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, is seen during the Republicans' 8-7 victory in the 55th Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park, June 23, 2016.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Congressman Joe Barton, a member of the House Committee of Energy and Commerce, speaks to the press in Dallas with representatives of oil service companies. Barton is urging President Obama to rescind his moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, saying it will hurt the Texas economy.

(Photo by Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty Images)

Republican team manager Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, right, talks with Democratic team manager Mike Doyle, D-Pa., before the 50th Annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park. The Democrats prevailed over the Republicans by the score of 8-2.

(Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call)

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 25: Committee vice chairman Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) questions witnesses during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing concerning federal efforts to combat the opioid crisis, October 25, 2017 in Washington, DC. Lawmakers on the committee threatened to subpoena information from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) regarding their delayed responses about drug distributors that poured in millions of pain pills into West Virginia. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 14: Rep. Joe Barton, R- Texas, right, coach of Republican baseball team and Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., coach of the Democrats' team, conduct a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center about this morning's the shooting at the Republican practice in Alexandria on June 14, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 14: Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, and his son Jack Barton, make their way to a meeting in the Capitol after a shooting at the Republican's baseball practice in Alexandria on June 14, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
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Barton issued the statement after The Washington Post reported late Wednesday that it had reviewed a phone call that was secretly recorded in 2015 between Barton and a woman who said she had received sexually explicit materials from him.

According to The Post, Barton said on the taped call that he had exchanged "inappropriate photographs and videos" with the woman — whom The Post didn't identify by name — "that I wouldn't like to be seen made public." He said he was concerned that she was in a "position to use them in a way that would negatively affect my career," The Post reported.

The Post quoted Barton as saying he was prepared to "take all this crap to the Capitol Hill Police and have them launch an investigation." It quoted the woman as saying she interpreted Barton's words as a threat.

But Barton contended Wednesday night that it was he who had been threatened, saying a transcript of the recording provided by The Post "may be evidence" of a crime against him.

"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."

So-called revenge porn laws in the District of Columbia and Texas make it a crime to distribute images of a person's private parts over the internet without that person's consent and if the person would be harmed by such distribution. Under federal law, Capitol Police officers have the authority to enforce D.C. laws.

Earlier Wednesday, Barton, 68, said that while he was separated from his second wife, but before their divorce in 2015, "I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women. Each was consensual. Those relationships have ended."

He added: "I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down."

Barton announced his intention to run for re-election last month. A spokeswoman, Sarah Dodd, told NBC News on Wednesday: "He is not resigning."

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