Virginia House Speaker Wilkins resigns in wake of sex scandal

Friday, June 14, 2002

RICHMOND, Va. -- S. Vance Wilkins Jr. resigned as speaker of the Virginia House on Thursday after admitting he paid at least $100,000 in hush money to a woman who accused him of sexually harassing her.

The resignation came after a drumbeat of demands from top party officeholders over the past few days.

Wilkins, a Republican who was the state's most powerful legislator, said he would decide in the next few weeks whether he will also relinquish his seat in the House of Delegates. He has served for 24 years.

"It is in the best interest of the Republican caucus and in the interest of myself that I resign now," Wilkins said during a telephone conference call with reporters.

Wilkins, 65, became the state's first Republican speaker in 2000 after leading the GOP to control of the House of Delegates for the first time in history.

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