Share story

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut lawmaker accused of sending affectionate text messages to a 16-year-old girl resigned Thursday, three weeks after he told House Democratic leaders he would be doing so.

Rep. Angel Arce said in a resignation letter submitted to Secretary of the State Denise Merrill that he didn’t want his “presence to be distraction to the very important work that occurs at the Capitol” and did not want his “family, friends and supporters to be burdened in any way.” The resignation is effective April 9.

Two fellow Democrats, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, had called on the former assistant majority leader to resign at the beginning of the month after the Hartford Courant published a series of text messages the 57-year-old grandfather allegedly sent to the teen in 2015. One read, “good night love and sweet dreams and thank you for coming into my life.”

Other messages included, “you are so beautiful and gorgeous” and “I think we going to keep a lot of secrets between us.”

The Courant said the messages apparently were sent from Arce’s Facebook Messenger account and were provided to the newspaper by the teen, who is now 18.

Jeffrey Kestenband, Arce’s lawyer, has said his client did nothing improper, and he would not comment further.

In his letter, Arce thanked his family, friends and supporters for their “unwavering encouragement and support over the past few weeks.” He did not say why he waited so long to submit his resignation letter.

A special election will likely be held sometime in mid-May to fill the now-vacant 4th Assembly District seat Arce has held for five years.