TOPEKA, KAN. — 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 J. 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. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a fellow Democrat, will appoint a 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 -- which means 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 district attorney when the affair began, and Carter said she initially resisted her boss' advances. She also accused 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 W. 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 from Republican to Democrat last year to challenge Kline, a GOP conservative. Johnson County Republicans chose Kline to take over Morrison's old job as district attorney.