Alaska's attorney general is stepping down after a joint investigation by the Alaska Daily News and ProPublica revealed a series of "uncomfortable" texts he'd sent to a much younger female colleague. Per the ADN, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said on Tuesday that Kevin Clarkson had resigned, after first being out for weeks on an unexplained unpaid leave. The article that led to his resignation was published earlier that day, detailing a junior state worker's concerns over more than 550 around-the-clock texts she says were sent to her personal phone by Clarkson in March, inviting her to his home at least 18 times and complimenting her physical appearance. The texts from Clarkson—who the article notes has been a "champion of Christian conservative views on social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion"—also often contained kiss emojis.
One such message from mid-March read: "Always nice to see you beautiful lady ... You have to find a way to say yes and come over and let me cook for you." The responses of the woman—who ProPublica and the ADN say wasn't the source who gave them the texts—were friendly, but she didn't answer all of Clarkson's messages. On April 4, she sent him a text asking him to respect professional boundaries, and that she wouldn't feel right coming to his house. In his resignation letter to Dunleavy, dated Monday, Clarkson—who suggests there was a workplace investigation into the texts—said there was "nothing remotely salacious" about the messages, which he called "G-rated," but he conceded that, even if it was unintentional, he "created an uncomfortable work environment for this employee." In a statement, per the ADN, Dunleavy calls Clarkson's behavior "deeply disappointing." (Read more Alaska stories.)