Anthony Weiner is in big trouble.
Less than a month since his last indiscretion ended his marriage with Huma Abedin, would-be mayor Anthony Weiner is back in the news for a sexting scandal invloving a child.
Weiner, 51, is now accused of a graphic online relationship with a 15-year-old girl that involved sexting, semi-nude photos of himself, and discussion of “rape-fantasies,” an article from the Daily Mail claimed Wednesday.
In a comment to the Daily Mail, Weiner both apologized—and claimed that he is the victim of a hoax. But he did not specifically deny sending the messages and photos.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo seemed disgusted by the reports. “I’ve read the reports and let me say this: if the reports are true, it’s possibly criminal and it is sick,” Cuomo remarked to the media on Wednesday.
“And frankly, I’ve heard enough about Anthony Weiner and I think that goes for all New Yorkers.”
The high-school girl claims Weiner was aware of her age when they began the cyber-relationship in January that continued for months. The teen sent the Daily Mail dozens of screen shots of her chats with Weiner in which he repeatedly compliments her body and shares fantasies of him coming to her house, in a different state, when her father is not there.
In one message he jokes “and now I’m going to be on dateline.”
The most lurid of screen grabs were taken while the two were communicating through Confide, an app that deletes messages after they are viewed. In those screen grabs, Weiner appears to express his desire to have sex with her in such a way that she might be in pain afterwards.
Weiner's response to the Daily Mail’s story:
“I have repeatedly demonstrated terrible judgment about the people I have communicated with online and the things I have sent. I am filled with regret and heartbroken for those I have hurt.
“While I have provided the Daily Mail with information showing that I have likely been the subject of a hoax, I have no one to blame but me for putting myself in this position.
“I am sorry.”
Did he commit any crimes?
Timothy Parlatore, a white-collar criminal defense attorney in New York, told Metro that Weiner will have a difficult time defending himself against potential charges of endangering the welfare of a child.
"Endangering the welfare of a child—that does not require it to be sexual. Engaging in any activity that could potentially endganer the mental or physical health of a child could carry federal charges. Especially if he tried to get her to cross state lines."
Parlatore said that with federal and New York State statues there are variations of laws against promoting the sexual performance of a minor. And if the girl at any point did take off her clothes for Weiner, there could be other charges related to child pornography.
"Is he looking at sex offender registration? Yes. Is he looking at federal prison and or state prison? Yes. In each situation he seems to push the envelope to something more extreme which shows some sort of mental health issue, but is that something that can be used as defense? No. He's given way too many press conferences where he admits where he was wrong and shows remorse. So there's no way he could go into a courtroom and say it’s a mental problem."
On Aug. 29, Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, announced that she is separating from Weiner amid news of a different new sexting scandal. That time, Weiner had sent a clothed, waist-down photo of himself in bed next to his 5-year-old son sleeping inches away, to a woman he said he was friends with “for some time.”
Earlier in September, Weiner confirmed to The New York Times that he is currently being investigated by child services (ACS) stemming from the photo.
Like his previous indiscretions with women such as Sydney Leathers, there does not seem to be evidence that he made any physical contact with his online contacts.
"All of these relationships, none of them have ever left the realm of his phone," added Parlatore. "It would be an interesting defense that his psychosis is phone-based and never actually intends to move past the phone."