Aide to Alabama governor resigns amid sex scandal

Story highlights

  • Gov. Robert Bentley says he has apologized to Rebekah Mason but denied to reporters allegations of an affair
  • Mason was an adviser, being paid from Bentley's campaign funds
  • Audio recordings purportedly of the governor talking in sexually charged language recently surfaced

(CNN)Rebekah Mason, a top aide to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, has resigned one week after the politician denied having an affair with her, Bentley's office said Wednesday in a written statement.

"My only plans are to focus my full attention on my precious children and my husband who I love dearly," she said. "They are the most important people in my life. Thank you for your prayers for our family."
    Last week, after explicit recordings of him became public, Bentley denied at a news conference that he and Mason, who was a senior political adviser and former spokeswoman, had a sexual affair.
    Bentley did not deny the legitimacy of the recordings nor that it was his voice but told the media that they were made two years ago and, since then, he has made apologies to his family and to Mason.
    "I am truly sorry, and I accept full responsibility," said Bentley, a Republican serving in his second term. "Today, I want to apologize to the people of Alabama."
    Throughout the news conference, he maintained the relationship never was physically intimate.
    Bentley spoke after his former law enforcement chief, Spencer Collier, held a news conference earlier in the day in which he accused the governor of an affair and inappropriate use of resources. Collier was fired by the governor the day before speaking to reporters.
    Bentley has denied doing anything illegal.
    The tapes were made by the Bentley family, according to AL.com, which published excerpts. AL.com reported that it was allowed to hear portions of the tapes by people close to the Bentley family.
    The goal was to figure out if Bentley was involved in a relationship.
    One portion of the audio was quoted to Bentley at last week's news conference.
    "When I stand behind you, and I put my arms around you, and I put my hands on your breasts, and I put my hands (unintelligible) and just pull you real close. I love that, too," Bentley said in the recording.
    It was not clear from the recording with whom the governor was talking.
    Bentley and his wife were divorced last year.
    Last week, in an email to CNN, Mason stood by the governor's comments about the recordings, saying everyone has moved on.
    "Those recordings were made over two years ago. Gov. Bentley had apologized to me and to my family, we accepted his apology and have moved forward," Mason said. "I continue to serve in the Bentley administration along with the rest of our team, and I look forward to the opportunities we have to make our state stronger."
    Mason was no longer a state employee and was being paid from Bentley's campaign funds.
    CNN affiliate WFSA reported that Democratic and Republican lawmakers have called for the governor to resign. Bentley has said he will not step down.
    The Alabama Ethics Commission on Wednesday said it couldn't comment on "matters that may be pending or under investigation."
    The Legislature is scheduled to reconvene Tuesday.