Kansas Attorney General Resigns

Saturday, December 15th 2007, 8:00 am
By: News On 6

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The state attorney general announced his resignation Friday, days after acknowledging an extramarital affair with a former employee who accused him of sexual harassment and professional misconduct.

``I have held others accountable for their actions, and now I must be held accountable for my mistakes,'' Paul Morrison said in a statement read to reporters outside his office.

At one point, he paused to gather himself. ``Many people feel betrayed by my actions, and they have every right to feel that way.'' He did not take questions from reporters.

Morrison's resignation is effective Jan. 31, 2008. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a fellow Democrat, will appoint his replacement to serve the remaining three years of the term.

Linda Carter, former director of administration for the Johnson County district attorney's office, has said she and Morrison had a two-year affair starting in September 2005 _ meaning it continued while Morrison ran for attorney general last year and after he took office.

Carter, who like Morrison is married, filed a civil rights claim against Morrison last month with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Morrison was the Johnson County DA when the affair began, and Carter claims she initially resisted her boss's advances. She also accuses Morrison of attempting to influence a federal lawsuit involving Phill Kline, whom Morrison ousted from the attorney general's office in last year's election.

Kris Kobach, chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, said resigning was the only ``plausible option.''

``Paul Morrison has disgraced the office which he was elected to,'' Kobach said in a statement. ``The people of Kansas deserve better than scandals, rumors and embarrassment from their chief law enforcement official.''

Morrison switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat last year to challenge Kline, a GOP conservative. Johnson County Republicans picked the defeated Kline to take over Morrison's old job.

Carter accuses Morrison of trying to pressure her to write letters on behalf of eight former employees who were fired after Kline took over the county office. In August, a federal magistrate dismissed all but one count in a wrongful termination lawsuit they filed.

Carter also claims Morrison sought sensitive information about Kline's activities as district attorney.

On Sunday, Morrison confirmed that he and Carter had had a relationship, but said many of her claims were ``patently false.'' Sebelius said Monday that Morrison should resign if the allegations were proven.

Neither Kline nor his spokesman, Brian Burgess, returned telephone messages left Friday.