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Opinion: Another Sydney Leathers 'Sexting Scandal' Brings Public Apology

By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Justin Moed has apologized for exchanging texts with a porn star named Sydney Leathers.

Wait. Who is Justin Moed? And why is he apologizing?

Well, Moed is a state lawmaker from Indianapolis, and that's what public officials do when they engage in behavior that might be considered embarrassing—or stupid.

The name Sydney Leathers might be a bit more familiar than Moed's.

She is the Indiana woman who played a bit part in the political implosion of former New York congressman Anthony Weiner (aka Carlos Danger.) Weiner also engaged in a cyber sexcapade with Leathers.

When that story went viral, Leathers launched a minor career in the porn business, appearing in a few films, and then disappeared from public view.

Until she coyly told a New York Post reporter last week that she was "sexting" with another politician "from the Midwest."

No name was mentioned, but it was just a matter of time.

This week, Moed was "exposed" as that Midwestern politician. Images were leaked and copies of the texts were revealed. Some of the texts are benign—discussions that include Moed meeting a comedian or attending a funeral. Others are extremely explicit.

On Tuesday evening, Moed issued this statement to the Indianapolis Star:

Is a public apology really necessary?

Moed did nothing the harm his constituency. There is no need to "rebuild the trust" with his community.

However, in the digital world of public shaming, the PR mandate calls for an immediate mea culpa. Just more than a decade ago, Moed's behavior wouldn't have been discovered, largely because it wasn't even possible. If any indiscretion was revealed, it would have been handled privately between consenting adults.

By all accounts, Moed is a young, hard-working legislator. A Butler University graduate,, he started as a Statehouse doorman and is now serving his second term as a representative.

Rebuilding trust with his family and the people he loves most is another matter.

By any reasonable standard, he showed lousy judgment and behaved poorly.

Moed is not married, but is engaged. A September wedding is planned and the couple is registered at places like Macy's and Crate & Barrel. Hopefully for him he works that out—privately.

Leathers told the Indianapolis Star last fall that she was "a couple of semesters away" from an associate's degree in radio and television. You can do the math to determine how that was working for her.

The New York Post story seems like it was no accident. Leathers, or the people representing her, knew what they were doing. It was time for another 15 minutes.

"I'm a little speechless," Leathers told the Post's Richard Johnson. "I Googled him and found out he's a lawmaker. Apparently only politicians can pick up on my pheromones."

Is there a texting app that allows for members of the opposite sex to pick up sweat?

Leathers was not available for comment on Tuesday.

And what was the point? Her work was done here.

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