Louisiana congressman, staff in kissing scandal

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Monroe, LA, United States (4E) – U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister (R-Swartz) and his staff were videoed embracing and kissing in the congressman’s office last year and a scandal broke out Monday when the video was leaked to the press.

Melissa Anne Hixon Peacock, the 33-year-old married woman McAllister kissed, is no longer working for the congressman as district scheduler, McAllister’s chief of staff Adam Terry said Tuesday. Her husband, Heath Peacock, expressed dismay and embarrassment over the incident to CNN on Tuesday.

Peacock said he only learned of his wife’s infidelity when she informed him about the affair with McAllister a few hours before the news of the scandal broke out.

“He has wrecked my life,” Peacock said of McAllister on CNN. “We’re headed for divorce.”

The Peacocks have a 6-year-old son from their six years of marriage. Each of them also donated $5,200 to McAllister’s election campaign last year.

The local weekly newspaper Ouachita Citizen broke out the scandal Monday by showing the black and white footage of the kissing taken from a surveillance camera. Recorded on Dec. 23, a month after McAllister was sworn into office following his election, the video went viral online.

On Monday, McAllister issued a public apology for what he described as his first “infidelity” but said he already told his wife of 16 years about the affair in late January. The congressman, who has five children, also told The Monroe News-Star that he is not quitting his post and plans to run for reelection in November.

Meanwhile, McAllister’s district manager for Monroe, Leah Gordon, denied a report quoting a minister as claiming that she leaked the video, according to Terry.

The News-Star reported Tuesday that Pastor Danny Chance of Christian Life Church in Monroe said Gordon told him she plans to send the video to The Ouachita Citizen, state Sen. Mike Walsworth (R-West Monroe), and a staffer in former Louisiana Republican Rep. Rodney Alexander’s office. McAllister replaced Alexander as representative of the Fifth Congressional District of Louisiana when the latter took the job as Veterans Affairs Secretary of Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Walsworth and Alexander’s staffer both denied seeing the video before Monday.

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