- Associated Press - Sunday, January 17, 2021

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) - A western New York legislator says “politically connected individuals” have tried to blackmail him after he sent an explicit photo to a 19-year-old woman.

Monroe County Legislator Ernest Flagler-Mitchell said in a statement Saturday that he sent a photo “intended for my wife to an individual I was working with,” and that he had apologized to the woman.

The statement came two hours after Flagler-Mitchell was installed as president of the Rochester NAACP during a virtual ceremony.

“Politically connected individuals,” he said, have used the photo incident to try to pressure him to abandon the Legislature’s Black and Asian Caucus, a group of Democrats that has sided with the Republican majority.

The woman who received the photo has gone to authorities, the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester reported.

Flagler-Mitchell said he, too, wants an investigation.

He did not mention the controversy during his swearing-in ceremony. The Rochester branch of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, is restarting after being inactive for several years.

Other leaders of the chapter reached by the newspaper declined to comment.

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